girl surviving holiday without loved one

Surviving Your First Holiday Without A Loved One

The holidays are often referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Surviving your first holiday without a loved one, however, is a difficulty that seems unimaginable to get through. Holiday traditions which once brought us much cheer, suddenly intensify our pain when we experience the gaping hole of loss. 

 

Sometimes, there is truly nothing that makes grief better. Unfortunately, it is something we just have to pass through. Will all of these tips to surviving your first holiday without a loved one help? Perhaps, or perhaps not. However, our loved ones lost wouldn’t expect us to continue on in suffering. You should not feel guilty for attempting to cope or even find renewed joy in this season. 

 

Here are five tips for surviving your first holiday after loss:

 

Celebrate or don’t

 

Don’t feel forced or obligated to do anything as far as the holidays are concerned. Although others have the best intentions and just want you to feel better, there is nothing wrong with saying “no.” You don’t have to attend any festivities you don’t feel up to, and you don’t have to rush through the holidays due to the date on a calendar. 

 

Don’t let anyone tell you that being alone is not good for you. Everyone handles grief differently, especially when surviving your first holiday without a loved one. Sometimes ignoring grief by surrounding ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the holidays may cause you to need longer to work through it. 

 

If your loss is fairly new, you may wish to simply delay a family gathering. This is ok. There is no rule that you must celebrate on a specific date. 

 

Carry on with old traditions or discover new ones 

 

Life after loss is a great time to find comfort in traditions that reminded us of our loved one. We may watch their favorite holiday films or prepare their favorite holiday dishes just like always. We may feel strange about carrying on like “normal” after loss how we did before. That is ok. There is nothing wrong with creating new traditions. 

 

Sometimes, you may find great comfort in finding new holiday traditions. You may wish to light a candle or still set a place for them at the table. You may wish to continue to give to their favorite charity or volunteer in their honor. The possibilities are endless. This could lead to you creating traditions you actually look forward to experiencing in the future. 

 

Ask for help when you need it 

 

Grief is draining and exhausting. You may feel a variety of feelings while trying to get through the normal day to day things as well as holiday events. If you need to cut back on some activities, ask for help! If you need help even doing little things like running personal errands, ask for help! 

 

Those who love you will surely love the opportunity to help. Shutting others out and just trying to push through as you always did before your loss may actually set you back and make it harder to process your grief. 

 

Make your mental health a priority 

 

To go along with asking for help, you may find comfort in talking about your grief with others in a support group, attending therapy sessions, or finding religious support through a faith-based organization. To find recommendations of local support groups, reach out to our pastoral care team by visiting ccmhhealth.com/pastoral-care

 

Watch out for unhealthy coping patterns 

 

If it’s been a while since your loss and you find yourself feeling apathetic, hopeless, or exhausted, grief experts warn this could be signs of depression. This may lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as withdrawing from social situations, excessive alcohol consumption or self-harm.

 

Taking care of yourself while grieving, both emotionally and physically, is so important! Get plenty of rest, eat healthy meals, and exercise. Dealing with grief alone is difficult. Don’t let it take a toll on your physical health too. 

 

For some, grief is even debilitating and doesn’t improve with time. If more than a year has passed since your loss and you are experiencing symptoms such as intensified sadness, inability to enjoy life and can focus on little besides your loss, please reach out to a CCMH provider. We want to help you restore your life to one of joy, meaning, and purpose. 

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Yellow Dot Program Launch

First Responders and Lawton Community Leaders launched the first Yellow Dot program in Oklahoma on Thursday. 25,000 dots and forms are making their way into the community. The program is sponsored by Lawton Community Health Center and BancFirst, and is FREE to everyone. Pick up your packet at one of the locations listed, complete the form, attach your picture, put the form in a zip lock baggie and put it in your glove box. Then attach the Yellow Dot to the back window of your vehicle. That’s it! If you are in a car accident, first responders will see the Yellow Dot on your back window and know to look in the glove box for your medical information. Having this crucial information during the first hour following a traumatic event could be the difference between life and death. Get your Yellow Dot packet here at CCMH today!

Thanksgiving Dinner dishes on a table

Thanksgiving Food Safety by Meagan Garibay, RN-BSN, CIC, Infection Preventionist Comanche County Memorial Hospital

With Thanksgiving not too far away, everyone is beginning to have visions of turkey legs and mashed potatoes dancing in their heads. Unfortunately, that Thanksgiving meal can come back to haunt you if it is cooked or stored improperly. Here are some tips to keep you on the couch with a full belly instead of a sick one!

 

THAWING A TURKEY SAFELY

  • Always keep your turkey in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw it, and in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.

  • When you’re ready to thaw it, there’s a few different methods you can follow for safe thawing:

    • The refrigerator is the safest and most recommended method for thawing your bird. The rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 4–5 pounds. Once it is thawed, it will keep just fine in the fridge for an additional 1–2 days before it needs to be cooked. It is recommended you place the turkey in a large dish on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent raw turkey juices from leaking over other foods. Example: A 20 pound turkey needs at least 4 days to thaw in the fridge, and is safe in the fridge for up to a week. This turkey is safe to go in to the fridge on the Friday before Thanksgiving.

    • Using cold water to thaw a turkey is a bit more labor intensive, but it’s faster than the fridge method. Submerge the frozen turkey in cold water and change the cold water every 30 minutes. Thawing times will vary based on how large your turkey is. A turkey thawed using this method must be cooked immediately after thawing is complete. Do not use lukewarm, warm, or hot water for this method — it may thaw the bird faster, but it will also increase the danger of food-borne illness.

    • Using the microwave to thaw the turkey is the fastest method and is acceptable, but it is the least recommended method. To use this method, you would place the frozen turkey in the microwave (if it fits!) and use the defrost setting, based on weight of the turkey (in general, it will take about 6 minutes per pound). A turkey thawed using this method must be cooked immediately after thawing is complete.

  • Other methods, such as thawing the turkey on the countertop, are not recommended — the risk of food-borne illness goes up considerably when using these methods.

  • Can you cook a frozen turkey? Absolutely! If your turkey is just a little frozen on Thanksgiving morning, it will take just a little longer to cook. A frozen solid turkey will take about 50% longer to cook than a thawed turkey. 

  • Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature at the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the turkey breast. 

 

GENERAL FOOD SAFETY GUIDELINES

  • The “danger zone” for food is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When perishable food (cooked or uncooked) sits out for longer than 2 hours in this temperature range, your risk of getting a food-borne illness from eating that food goes up. Stick food in the refrigerator within 2 hours to keep everybody safe from getting sick!

  • Ensure food, especially meats, are cooked to the recommended internal temperature.

  • Wash your hands frequently — especially when handling raw foods, and after using the bathroom.

 

woman smiling bladder health

Six Steps to a Healthier Bladder

There is nothing like the uncomfortable burning sensation of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Bladder health changes as we get older, and sometimes bladder problems such as UTIs or incontinence are unavoidable. 

November is Bladder Health Month! Since bladder health is important for everyone, make sure you review these six steps to a healthier bladder:

 

Mind your liquids. 

Alcohol and caffeine are hard on your bladder. Cut down on items like chocolate, sodas, tea, and coffee. Most individuals need to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. It is also best to drink at least half of your liquid consumption in water each day. Nothing is better for your bladder health than water! 

 

Dress in a way that promotes bladder good health.

Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear. Loose-fitting, cotton clothing allows air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Nylon underwear and tight-fitting jeans may trap moisture, helping bacteria grow.

 

Eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight.

High fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables help your body to avoid constipation. Over-full bowels due to constipation can press on the bladder. This reduces the amount of urine it can hold, making you feel you need to pass urine urgently. Constipation can also affect your pelvic floor muscles.

 

Quit smoking. 

Not only does smoking increase your risk of bladder cancer, but it also can lead to incontinence. This happens when a chronic cough that develops from smoking puts extra pressure on the bladder.

 

Be mindful when urinating.

Fully empty the bladder each time you urinate by taking the time to relax and not rush urination. For women, it is best to sit on the toilet seat as hovering over the seat may make relaxing more difficult.

Women should always wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. 

 

Urinate after sex. 

Men and women alike should urinate following sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse.

 

Exercise. 

Physical activity not only helps you maintain or lose weight, but it helps prevent constipation. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, in particular, help hold urine in the bladder. Performing these exercises daily strengthens these muscles and prevents urine from leaking when you cough, sneeze, lift, or have a sudden urge to urinate or laugh.

 

 

Need a urologist? Call our Physician Referral Line today! 

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

What is Oklahoma Yellow Dot?

The “Yellow Dot” Program is a free service. It helps save lives during a car crash by alerting first responders to a yellow decal on the driver’s side rear window. The decal signals first responders to check in the glove compartment for the corresponding “Yellow Dot” form. This form contains crucial emergency information to help the victim.

Oklahoma Yellow Dot helps citizens of all ages in the event of a car crash or other medical emergency. It improves communication between first responders and car accident victims at a time when victims may be unable to communicate for themselves.

OK Yellow Dot is currently in Comanche County and other surrounding counties. The program is sponsored by Lawton Community Health Centers and BancFirst.

You can pick up your Oklahoma Yellow Dot window cling and form at: Lawton Community Health Center locations, BancFirst branches and CCMH Front Desk.

Please go to our Facebook page and like our page Oklahoma Yellow Dot. For more information, please visit our website: www.okyellowdot.org.

man with GERD cooking

8 Steps to Living a Happier Life with GERD

Heartburn is such a common condition that it is often ignored as caused by poor lifestyle decisions. Occasional heartburn may not be anything to be concerned about, but gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is characterized by chronic, recurring heartburn. Without proper care, it may lead to more serious complications. 

 

When a patient has GERD, damage results from repeated or prolonged exposure of the lining of the esophagus to acidic contents from the stomach. This occurs as acidic stomach contents flow backward (reflux) into the esophagus.

 

Although patients should not self-treat this condition, certain lifestyle changes may help and lessen the need for medication. Here are  eight tips to help you live a healthy life with lessened GERD symptoms:

 

Change your eating habits

 

Eat smaller meals. For example, six small meals may be beneficial as opposed to three larger meals. Keeping your stomach from becoming too full reduces gastric pressure. 

 

Similarly, eating slower helps by putting less food in your stomach at one time. 

 

It is also important to know what foods may trigger reflux. Some of the foods more likely to cause reflux include tea, carbonated beverages, coffee, alcohol, mint, spicy foods, fatty foods, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and chocolate. If you regularly consume these foods, try eliminating them from your diet and slowly reintroduce them one by one to determine which foods increase your GERD symptoms. 

 

Lose weight if you need to

 

Eating slower may also help lose weight if this is something you need to do. Excessive weight causes the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter to spread. This then decreases the pressure which keeps the sphincter closed, leading to reflux and heartburn. 

 

Limit activity after eating

 

Avoiding strenuous workouts for a couple hours after eating may keep symptoms at bay. Any exercises that involve bending over should especially be avoided as it sends acid into the esophagus. 

 

Stop smoking

 

Nicotine can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing heartburn. 

 

Change your sleep habits 

 

Staying awake for 2-3 hours after eating can help as gravity and food digestion works together to alleviate symptoms. Sleeping with your head and shoulder elevated- either by pillows or in a chair- also helps reduce pressure and keep stomach contents where they belong. 

 

Review your medications

 

Some medications can relax the sphincter, while others can irritate the esophagus. Over the counter antacids can greatly reduce heartburn, but should not be used constantly. Consult with your physician to discuss which prescriptions you may need to begin or change to lessen your symptoms. 

 

Check your wardrobe

 

Tight-fitting clothes around the abdomen should be avoided. This includes tight belts, pants, and slenderizing undergarments. 

 

Relax 

 

Learning relaxation techniques may help alleviate stress. Although stress has not been linked to heartburn, it can lead to heartburn triggering behaviors. 

 

 

If you’re struggling with living with GERD day to day, our CCMH Physicians want to help improve your quality of life! Make an appointment today: ccmhhealth.com/providers.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Dr. Velury and Dr. Kochenower speaking at Peripheral Artery Disease Lunch & Learn

Peripheral Artery Disease Lunch & Learn

Dr. Velury and Dr. Kochenower were special guest speakers at a lunch and learn last Thursday at CCMH on Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD to nearly 50 people. They talked about how they work together across a continuum of care, from awareness, to early detection, to wound treatment, and ongoing management, to help reduct the chances of amputation and improve the quality of life for patients.

Dr. Velury (left) and Dr. Kochenower (right)

Dr. Velury (left) and Dr. Kochenower (right)

crowd at PAD Lunch & Learn

man eating

Are You at Risk for Stomach Cancer?

When you think of cancer, stomach cancer may not be the first type of cancer that comes to mind. However, around 27,500 Americans will receive a stomach cancer diagnosis this year. Also, over 17,000 of these patients will be men. It is also estimated that over 11,000 deaths will occur from stomach cancer in the U.S. this year. 1 As we observe Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, we hope to make patients more aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. 

 

How does stomach cancer develop?

 

Stomach cancer tends to develop over a period of years. It begins with pre-cancerous changes often occurring in the inner lining of the stomach. Early changes rarely cause symptoms and therefore often go undetected.

 

What are the risk factors of stomach cancer?

 

Gender. Men are twice as likely to develop this cancer compared to women.

 

Genetics/family history. Those who have had immediate family members with stomach cancer are at a higher risk of the disease. Furthermore, certain inherited genetic disorders can increase the risk. This includes Lynch syndrome, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). 

 

Bacteria. A common bacterium, Helicobacter pylori (also called H. pylori) causes stomach ulcers and inflammation. It is also one of the main causes of stomach cancer. Your doctor may recommend testing for H. pylori if you have an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with stomach cancer or an H. pylori infection. 

 

Age. It occurs mostly in people older than 55. 

 

Race. Stomach cancer is more common in those of African American, Hispanic, and Asian descent.

 

Tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco use and high alcohol consumption may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.

 

Diet. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables may help lower risk. Eating foods high in salt has also been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. 

 

Previous stomach surgery and health conditions. People who have had pernicious anemia, stomach surgery, or achlorhydria have a higher risk of stomach cancer. Pernicious anemia is a severe decrease in red blood cells that keeps the stomach from properly absorbing vitamin B12. Achlorhydria is a lack of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices. Hydrochloric acid helps to digest food.

 

Obesity. Excess body weight may increase the risk for men. It is unknown if this is a factor for women.

 

Occupational hazard. Exposure to certain fumes and dust may increase the risk.

 

What are the common signs and symptoms of stomach cancer?

 

Signs and symptoms may include:

 

Feeling bloated after eating

Fatigue

Severe, persistent heartburn

Feeling full after eating a small amount

Unexplained, persistent nausea

Severe indigestion that is always present

Stomach pain

Persistent vomiting

Unintentional weight loss

 

How can I prevent stomach cancer?

 

You can reduce your risk by:

 

Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink

Avoiding eating pickled and smoked foods and salted meat.

Not using tobacco products.

Eating a well-balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods.

Maintaining a healthy weight.

 

 

Do you have other questions or concerns about your stomach cancer risk? Reach out to a CCMH Physician today. Find one today by visiting our online directory: ccmhhealth.com/providers.

 

Source

1 Cancer.Net. Stomach Cancer: Statistics. Jan. 2019.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Caitlyn Reser holding award behind Rising Star banner with CCMH Staff

Caitlyn Reser, Nurse Aid, Receives Rising Star Award

Caitlyn Reser, Nurse Aid, at the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center provides outstanding service to not only the patients of Rehab but the Rehab team as well. Caitlyn is always willing to go the extra mile for our patients and her coworkers. Her caring attitude and excellent service shine in all that she does—from the way she accommodates therapy needs by helping organize rooms so patients can get back into bed safely while the therapist positions them, to the way she constantly makes herself available to her team.

You would never know that Caitlyn has not been in healthcare for very long. She is able to expertly anticipate the needs of her patients and coworkers. She is self-motivated and does not hesitate to take action. She is selfless, often eating last, staying late and coming in extra. She always has a smile, and her positive attitude is contagious. Caitlyn is professional, sweet to all, and a pillar of our unit.

Caitlyn is always putting others first and is an example to all. We are proud to have Caitlyn apart of our CCMH family.

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