1,600 days, 400 blankets and countless lives touched

donating crafts to hospital“Each blanket takes about four days to make,” said Marlies Terpning, a community advocate who has donated more than 400 hand-crocheted blankets for babies born at Tucson Medical Center.

The plush, super-soft blankets are a perfect welcome for the newborns and Terpning’s favorite way to support her community. “We first went to TMC in 1977 and they have been so wonderful every time my family needed care,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for crochet and this is a way I can make something with my own hands to give back.”

The grandmother and long-time Tucson resident has been making blankets for TMC since 2008. When it comes to production, Terpning is a one-person show. She purchases all the materials and crochets each blanket herself.

Four days times 400 is the equivalent of 1,600 days – or more than four years of time – that Terpning has given to provide families with a memorable memento.

“I just love making them – my husband jokes that everyone in Tucson will eventually have one,” said Terpning. And it turns out her husband might be right. “I talked with a mom just the other day, who said her 9-year-old daughter still has the blanket on her bed, and she still loves it.” That sentiment was particularly rewarding for Terpning. “It meant so much to me to know how much the blanket meant to that family.”

If you visit TMC, you will see the Terpning name across the hospital – and on more than newborn blankets. Marlies’ husband, famed artist Howard Terpning, has donated many of his southwest-themed prints to the TMC Healing Art program. A TMC courtyard also bears his namesake, a dedication from Marleis. The couple have also been frequent and generous donors to the TMC Foundation.

“We are grateful for the tireless support of Marlies and Howard Terpning,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “They care deeply for the Southern Arizona community and we’re honored to be a part of their philanthropic efforts.”

You might be wondering what’s next for Marlies Terpning? “More blankets! Oh yeah!”

For more information about how you can support the TMC Foundation and the TMC Healing Art Program, please call (520) 324-3116.

 

TMC executive chef shares can’t-fail rib recipe for grill-ready days

Cooking Tutorial YouTube ThumbnailI’d love to grill and BBQ every day – especially at this time of year – but with our busy lives, it’s just not realistic. On my days off, I always prepare several items that my family can enjoy later in the week, when the prospect of cooking after a long day of work has lost its luster.

One of them is BBQ Ribs. The fact is that I like mine smoked several hours over hickory;  but most weekends, that’s not happening.

The following recipe is a fool proof way to get solid BBQ Ribs, with just an oven (and a grill if you’d like.) There’s also an option to do the first step on the weekend, and finish them in 30 minutes on any night of the week.

BBQ Ribs without a smoker


2   2 ½ – 3 ½ lb  rack pork rib (baby back)

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp coarse ground pepper

1 cup dry rub (Recipe to follow)

1 cup of any BBQ sauce you’d like

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 lager beer or 1 cup water

Dry Rub Recipe

1/2 cup chili powder

2 tbsp  granulated garlic

2 tbsp  cumin

2 tbsp paprika

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

The ratios are about right, so you can double or triple the recipe and store in a sealed container.

Prep:

Pull the ribs out of the fridge and place them on a cutting board. Cut each rack in half. This will make it easier to arrange on a sheet or roasting pan.

Salt and pepper both sides of the ribs.

Then liberally massage in the dry rub. If you’re dirty and are making a mess, you’re doing it right.

Set ribs on sheet pan or shallow roasting pan. (1 Layer)

In corner of roasting pan , pour in apple cider vinegar. Not over the pork, under the pork.

Open the beer and pour in half the same way. The rest is for you. (My wife just loves when I make ribs at 10 a.m. on a Saturday. All downhill from there.) Or use water.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. They need to steam.

Roast:

Preheat oven to 325F. Roast for 2 hours 15 minutes.

Remove and let sit 15 minutes, then uncover.

Finish:

Now, you can continue the cooking process, or you can let cool to touch,  wrap tightly and place in the refrigerator for later use. The ribs are thin, so they will cool quickly enough in a standard refrigerator. They can be stored up to 5 days.

To continue cooking, either preheat a grill to high, or your oven broiler. Slather sauce on meat side of ribs. Grill for 5 minutes or broil 2 minutes meat side up. Flip and do the other side. Make sure the sauce bubbles up off the meat. The sugars in the sauce are caramelizing. Remove. Try not to eat them all.

If you’re reheating the next day or later, preheat oven to 350F. Wrap ribs tightly in foil, and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Then follow the above step.

You see? Tuesday night all of a sudden looks like Rib Night – and all in half an hour.

Chef Jason Ricciardelli

ChefJason

Editor’s note: Sometimes, mere mortals may be skeptical when a chef calls a recipe “foolproof” so, dear readers, we can attest that members of the TMC Communications team, who have no particular culinary expertise to speak of, were able to successfully make these for a dinner party. They turned out fabulous. No one knows what happened to that other half of a beer. 

Imaging director shares thoughts on leadership, obtains educational milestone to better serve patients, colleagues

danfelix2When Dan Felix received his high school diploma, he couldn’t have been more pleased to be done with school.

The young man couldn’t have envisioned then that he’d be in school for a long time over the course of his career. Felix, who was promoted to director in 2014 over X-ray, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, mammography, CT-scan and MRI, started his master’s program in leadership in 2016, recently completing it.

We caught up with him for a few questions.

What inspired you to go back to school?

There are three reasons. TMC has given me this leadership opportunity so it was really important to me to perform at the level of my peers. My colleagues are a talented group and I respect them for their intelligence, attention to detail and preparation.

Secondly, my team deserves a leader who is committed enough to leadership to undergo formal training. And more so, patients deserve to be cared for by a team with well-prepared leaders.

The third reason was for my kids. I have two young daughters, one is going to be in seventh grade and the other in ninth, so setting that example is important to me.

You have a demanding job already. There must be a number of working professionals out there who are weighing going back to school and trying to figure out how to balance it all.

It was extremely difficult because not only was I balancing the pressures of work, I’m also a volunteer athletic coach for kids, and a husband and father. All of that takes a lot of time. I managed by 30-minute blocks every day: 30 minutes to eat, 30 minutes to read, 30 minutes for school. But I’ve always believed the body and mind are capable of more than we think and will meet any challenge.

Now that you’re finished, you have some of those 30-minute slots reopening. What are you going to do with that time?

The joke is I will get my golf game back. But what I believe and hope I will do with my time is to help others by passing along the skills and knowledge that I’ve learned, whether it’s here with people at work, with the team members I coach or with the parents of those students.

Did any of the content change your leadership approach?

As time went on as I developed my leadership skills at TMC and as I was presented with a variety of challenges and personalities, I often found myself tailoring my approach in order to achieve the best outcome.  That’s when I had my big “aha” moment in leadership training.

This tailoring of my approach is actually referred to as “situational leadership.”  Our jobs as leaders is to use different approaches based on the needs of the employees or situations – not necessarily what’s most comfortable for the leader.

And there lies the beauty of leadership. A good leader will recognize when there is time to carefully analyze certain situations and have thoughtful discussions such as process improvements vs. when it’s important to take control and act quickly.

Any practical tips leaders can try right away with their teams?

The biggest thing for me was reaffirming how important it is for leaders to be good listeners. I have a good relationship with my team so it was easy for me to say, “Here’s what I learned. Let’s give it a try and see if it helps us improve our work together.”

The one thing we really worked on was making sure we heard each other. If you’re already talking before I finished my sentence, that’s a good sign that you’re not listening. So we’ve been very conscious of waiting until we’re done speaking, taking the time to process what we’ve heard and then reply back. It’s led to more efficient conversations because there’s more confidence that we don’t have to repeat key points.

It also reinforced the importance of learning the management styles of members of my team, making sure we hold each other accountable with detailed action plans and making sure we all have clarity on our current and future states. The whiteboard in my office is heavily used.

You probably had learned a great deal through mistakes and successes in practice already – so why school?

It gave me a chance to think deeply about leadership and how my management style lines up with documented leadership theories. It was affirmation that I’m taking the right approach and it gave me confidence that I was connecting the dots.

TMC supported my goals through its tuition reimbursement program and I am grateful that TMC’s leadership has always encouraged continuing education. There are a lot of opportunities to advance if you put in the work and are accountable for that work.

 

San Diego Zoo Kids channel begins broadcasting at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities

San Diego Zoo Kids Debra EricksonYoung patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a fennec fox, a ferret, a blue-tongued skink and a snake from Reid Park Zoo—at a gathering at Tucson Medical Center this morning.

The special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television channel, at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with programs produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America Grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities across the nation over the next three years.

San Diego Zoo Kids FoxThe generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors in every patient room at Tucson Medical Center and in the children’s play area at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

“TMC is thrilled to partner with the San Diego Zoo to bring to our patients a little more of what’s magical and wonderful in the world at a time when they’re not feeling their best,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO.

From TMC’s long-standing support of Reid Park Zoo to its robust pet therapy program, Rich noted that the educational and entertaining channel builds on the work TMC is already doing. “This effort helps us in supporting families, offering a child-friendly environment and fostering an appreciation of the healing qualities of animals and nature.”

The channel also features animal stories from Reid Park Zoo. “We are excited to be collaborating with San Diego Zoo Global, TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities to share our passion for animal conservation and education,” said Nancy Kluge, president, Reid Park Zoological Society. “We hope this glimpse into the lives of the animals at Reid Park Zoo will bring excitement and joy into the lives of those in our community who might not be able to visit the Zoo.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Frenetic Fox“We are so pleased to partner with the San Diego Zoo, Tucson Medical Center and Reid Park Zoo on this entertaining and educational program,” said Kate Jensen, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

“One of our goals is to create a sense of normalcy for children and families, even while they are going through very difficult times,” said Jensen. “The San Diego Zoo Kids channel has become a very popular diversion. It is so well produced, educational and entertaining. We are grateful for this wonderful contribution from the San Diego Zoo.”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids host Olivia Degn.

Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the world.

San Diego Zoo Kids Judy Rich“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 137 children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, pediatric wards and children’s hospice centers across the U.S., in 33 states and the District of Columbia; and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Singapore.

For further information about San Diego Zoo Kids, visit their website. And don’t forget to have a peek at all the fun happening locally at the Reid Park Zoo.

For more information about the Ronald McDonald House visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona website or call (520) 326-0060.

IT professionals teach high school computer science classes to fill need

Paul.jpgBy a happy stroke of destiny, there was a computer lab in Paul Lemmons’ high school. It allowed him to play in the environment enough to know he was drawn to that work.

“The food I have put on my table for the past 40 years has come from that high school experience,” said Lemmons, who is a lead systems engineer at Tucson Medical Center, helping to manage the computer programs that run TMC’s electronic medical records platform.

So when Lemmons heard about a program that taps IT professionals to volunteer to teach high school classes, while working in conjunction with a certified classroom teacher, he jumped at the chance. He and his TMC IT colleague, Michael Cecil, were assigned to Presidio School, a college preparatory high school in midtown, through Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS.

“Computer professionals are compensated at much higher levels than teachers are, so there is a gap in how many schools can actually employ computer professionals,” Lemmons said, noting he and Cecil spend one hour each weekday teaching students two different programming languages.

TMC supports the program by paying for their employees’ classroom time. “Giving back to the community is something we take seriously as a nonprofit community hospital,” said Susan Snedaker, director of IS Infrastructure and Operations. “This program allows us to make a difference by preparing students for a professional life in computer programming. And it helps our employees as well, since teaching demands that you reflect deeply about your own career and skill sets, which often leads to new insights.”

The students spend the first semester writing video games and the second part learning Python, one of the fastest-growing computer languages.  The work, Lemmons explained, “teaches them how to logically think through a problem and how to communicate their mental solution into something a computer could represent.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience. Kids are like sponges. It’s fun watching their imaginations go once they pick up the concepts.”

For Cecil, who is now in his second year of teaching in the program, it was important to make a difference, knowing about the deficit in computer science offerings in public education. “It’s been really rewarding because you’re making a tangible impact with young adults and you can see the effects,” he said. “You start with a kid who is kind of interested in this stuff and now, they’re planning to major in computer science or they’ve gotten a scholarship for college. It’s an incredible opportunity to give back.”

Lemmons added there is value in helping students find out early whether they have an aptitude for computer science because it helps them in planning their college experience. And there is value for industry participants as well. “I’m eventually going to retire and someone has to come in and do this. We’re preparing a new workforce to come in and take care of TMC’s computing department.”

TEALS has expanded from one school in 2015 to 18 schools in the coming academic year, but it looking for more IT volunteers to help meet demand.

TEALS is hosting an Info Session at The Lodge on the Desert on Thursday, May 17, at 11:30 am.  Please find more information and the RSVP link here.

Rock ‘N Rodeo chips in fore TMC Hospice

This year two great events came together to support one great cause. The Desert Toyota of Tucson 21stAnnual Rock ‘N Rodeo event expanded festivities with the 1st Annual Swinging fore Hospice Golf Tournament.

The two events raised more than $70,000 to support a wide range of services and programs at TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice.

Taking fun to the next level

Rock ‘N Rodeo is known for ropin’ in the fun with southwestern dancing, raffles, casino games and a tasty dinner.

Desert Toyota of Tucson is a proud, long time sponsor of Rock ‘N Rodeo,” said Brent Berge, owner of Desert Toyota. “We have a lot of fun each year, but the real reward is knowing every dollar raised supports services and programs that enhance hospice care for patients and their families.”

After an evening of two-stepping, event-goers traded in their boots and Stetsons for clubs and cleats the next morning. With amazing raffle prizes and the chance to win a new car with a hole-in-one, the Swinging Fore Hospice Golf Tournament was a real hit!

How proceeds enhance hospice care

Funds support soothing complementary therapies for adults, and also fund the We Honor Veterans and Hospice Veterans Partnership programs – helping TMC Hospice better care for, reach out to and honor veterans needing end-of-life care.

Children with life-limiting or terminal conditions and their families have special needs, and the invaluable support from Rock ‘N Rodeo and Swinging Fore Hospice means TMC Children’s Hospice can offer specialized palliative care that provides joy and comfort.

“The Rock ‘N Rodeo and Swinging Fore Hospice support a very important community need,” said Kim Fore, director of TMC Hospice. “We’re grateful for the team at Desert Toyota of Tucson, as well as every sponsor and participant who helped make this year a great success.”

How you can be a part of the fun

Keep your spring calendars open for next year’s events. In the meantime, The TMC Foundation works with TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice throughout the year to identify needs and support programs that make a positive difference for patients. For more information, contact the TMC Foundation at (520) 324-3116 or visit www.tmcaz.com/foundation.

Children’s Miracle Network Champion – Emma Martin

Nine-year old Emma Martin is spunky! No two ways about it, this little girl has a big personality, an infectious laugh and the kindest heart. Emma is also TMC for Children’s 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.

Each year Children’s Miracle Network recognizes one child in southern Arizona who embodies bravery, spirit and hope and is a champion for every child who spends time in our hospitals. We are thrilled to announce that Emma has been recognized as Southern Arizona’s champion for 2018.

While Emma was still in the womb, several of her internal organs developed and fused together, meaning she was without a crucial organ to remove waste from her body. In addition, Emma was born with only one kidney, making it even more difficult for her body to process fluids. A triplet, Emma spent an extended time in the NICU with her sisters, but faced with additional complications went home months after her sisters had left.

Over the past nine years Emma has spent months in the hospital, had over 20 surgeries to address the original congenital issues and the subsequent developments. A fungal infection caused her bladder to be removed, and she lost a majority of her colon in 2016 to a dangerous form of colitis. Emma must use a colostomy and urostomy bag for the rest of her life.

Despite years of complex surgeries and painful symptoms, Emma is joyful, kind and has a giving heart. “She will help others before herself, even her sisters,” said Emma’s mother, Shannan Martin. “She is a special and amazing person who is so positive – she lights up any room she walks into.”

Through Emma was born with rare and daunting health challenges, she keeps an enthusiastic positivity that is nothing short of inspiring – she is a true champion.

Southern Arizona communities can look forward to seeing Emma out-and-about in 2018, sharing her story and advocating for the courageous families and kids who are receiving care at TMC for Children.

You can support Emma’s efforts by contributing to TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network. Every dollar donated stays right here in Southern Arizona to support wellness programs, purchase life-saving equipment and provide vital health services to help children like Emma be as healthy as possible.

“TMC for Children has made an incredible difference for our amazing Emma,” said Martin. “We are grateful for the staff, technology and the continued services that have kept Emma alive and brought us all hope.”

Congratulations Emma and thank you for serving as the 2018 TMC for Children Champion!

Learn more about how TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network are making a difference, and how you can join the effort to provide life-saving equipment and health services for Southern Arizona children.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Jenna Carbone

Jenna CarboneTMC Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenna Carbone approaches her work with intense focus and singular caring for many of the most critically ill patients on her unit.

A nurse for six years, Carbone always knew she was meant to be a nurse.

“Even as a little girl, when my dad would come home from biking with cactus in his legs, I would get out my light and tweezers and pick each one out,” she recalled.

Since then, she not only graduated with honors, but also holds Critical Care and NIH stroke certifications to enable her to provide care to the highest acuity patients, including those with neurologic injuries. She’s also dedicated thousands of hours over the years to new graduate and student nurses.

Carbone, who is close to her parents and her family, credits her great grandfather, who was a stubborn, hard-headed kind of guy, with teaching her patience. And she has a deep commitment to getting to know the people she is serving in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s really great to get to know the families,” she said. “You know what you are fighting for. They are able to tell you about the patient and their personality.”

As much as she fights for her patients, she has had to learn that not every patient can be saved. She has been with patients at their deaths and participated in ceremonies at the end of their lives. “Because of my faith, I am comfortable with death and it is an honor to serve someone who is at the end of their life. My mom is a deeply faithful woman and when she gets bad news, she always says she knows that God has a plan for her.”

Carbone may cry at commercials for the Olympics, but she’s strong when it comes to patient care. “I don’t get emotional in the moment or at work. You have to know how to help and be a shoulder for others to cry on.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Jenna on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50. nurses 

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Sherilyn Wollman

Sherilyn Wollman.jpgIt never occurred to Sherilyn Wollman that she’d be a nurse.

She wasn’t one of those kids who played with stethoscopes or brandished bandages with authority. In fact, a hospital seemed like a scary place when she was growing up.

She went into the military as an IS specialist and a young mother. When her tour of duty was up, she made plans to become an elementary teacher, which was a job she had always yearned to do.

But her sister at the time encouraged her to enroll in a class to become a certified nursing assistant and asked her to just try it.

“On my first day, it was where I knew I belonged,” she recalled. “It was that whole experience of being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if you’re just touching someone for that one day when they really need help.”

She remembers the moment she decided she wanted to continue her education and become a nurse. A patient had come in, alone and restless and in the final stages of dying. Wollman and the nurse talked with her and reassured her. “It was deeply moving to be there with her during that transition, because it was clear she knew we were there for her. It made me look differently at everything I do.”

Over the course of many years, she continued working on her skills and career, eventually obtaining her masters of nursing.

Ultimately, Wollman was able to marry her goal of teaching with her passion for nursing by becoming a clinical educator and helping other staff members with skills development and career advancement. “I’m no longer at the bedside, but I feel like I am still making a difference in a different way,” said Wollman, who has been at TMC for 13 years. “What I’m able to provide helps them provide great care at the bedside.”

Wollman’s compassion comes in part from her upbringing: she was adopted by her grandparents when she was 8. “I learned a lot about giving to others by watching them,” she said. “I think the kindness I learned from them helped foster in me a desire to help other people.”

Wollman, who said she was shocked and humbled when she was recognized as a Fab 50 nurse, invests a lot of energy in supporting new graduate nurses. Her tips for novice nurses?

  • Continue developing your skills
  • Always seek educational opportunities
  • Find a mentor to share different perspectives and broaden horizons
  • Care for yourself so you can are for others

Her final piece of advice? Treat others with respect and listen. “Everyone has something to teach.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Sherilyn on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Julie Seidl

Julie Seidl.jpgIn her 40-plus year career as a nurse in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Julie Seidl has undoubtedly had an impact on the lives of hundreds of infants and parents. But in all that time, including 20 years spent at the bedside, one set of triplets and their parents made a lasting and indelible mark on her.

“The triplets will be 21 in April and I’ve been best friends with their mom since we met in the NICU,” said Seidl.

The youngest of the triplets, all born at just over two pounds, turned out to be her very last patient at the bedside before transitioning to a new role in the hospital. “They are my legacy. It’s a privilege that I have been able to share their whole life,” she said. “They are great examples of what the future can hold for premature babies.”

For 21 years they have shared many special moments … holidays, birthdays and even vacations together. “It’s funny because as a nurse, you always care about all of your patients, but you are a professional. It was different when I met them though – we just felt like family,” said Seidl.

“I’m so grateful because sometimes as a nurse you wonder, ‘Did I make a difference in someone’s life?’”

Another piece of her career legacy is the innovative Infant After Care Program she developed, along with TMC Pediatric Outpatient Therapies, to provide ongoing follow-up care for premature babies for their first two years. “To be ready to enter the world, the promise of Mother Nature is 40 weeks in the womb,” she explained. “When you come early, you’re not ready in body or in brain development. And the brain is the piece that often gets overlooked. With the After Care Program, we can spot those little hiccups and work to rewire the brain before it’s a bigger problem.”

A baby floating in the womb is surrounded by quiet, hearing their mother’s voice and heartbeat. If that time is cut short, they are tasked with breathing, seeing and fighting gravity before they are ready, she said. Seidl’s work as an Infant Development Specialist includes educating staff and parents how to best mimic the womb by creating a calm, quiet environment without bright lights and wrapping the baby as they would be in-utero – flexed and tucked.

The TMC Infant After Care Program is free to any infant born before 36 weeks of gestation at TMC thanks to a grant from the TMC Foundation.

“This program is the best thing that I could do at the end of my career,” says Seidl. Not that she’s going anywhere any time soon. “I truly love what I do.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Julie on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Damiana Cohen

Damiana CohenDamiana Cohen, manager of the Mother Baby and Women’s Care Units at Tucson Medical Center took an interest in birth when she was 12 and happened upon a book about midwifery.

The road to nursing didn’t come right after high school though; she took a non-traditional path and along the way collected a number of experiences, from three years of college, to travel in South America, to driving a school bus and waiting tables.

But she never lost that fascination with the stories of birth, and she went to school to become a licensed midwife, ultimately spending more than 12 years with families who wanted to have birth experiences at home.

When it was time for a new chapter, Cohen went to nursing school – a decision she’s never regretted because of the experiences that unfolded from there, from working with marginalized populations to teenagers finding their way in the world.

Cohen spent 12 years working as a forensic nurse performing post-sexual assault exams and on that time she reflects, “That really and truly was my passion. Not always, but a lot of times, it’s the marginalized people in a society who are victimized. And in some ways, it was a bit like being a midwife, because you’re there with somebody, one-on-one, helping them through this very intense situation. It’s smart, autonomous nursing, it’s scientific, it’s about human rights and a person’s dignity – and I would go home and feel like I really impacted someone’s life.”

Cohen spent three years working as a school nurse with pregnant and parenting teenagers. “Hardly any of them had a parent figure in their lives, so I could be that presence to tell them what so few had a chance to hear: That they mattered and I cared. I wanted them to be empowered to be parents while still having their lives and finishing their education.” She still connects from time to time with some of those students; many of whom were inspired to become nurses.

“I think I’ve enjoyed my nursing career because I’ve done so many different things,” Cohen said. “Life has offered me opportunities that I haven’t foreseen. And I’ve always believed that when something comes your way, it’s good to reflect on what the universe is offering you and take a moment to listen.”

Just as she’s had many careers, she has many facets outside of work – a mom to her sons, now 25 and 29, a runner, a hiker, an organic gardener, a film fanatic, a reader, a cat lover, a supporter of women and equality, a birdwatcher and nature lover, a lifelong learner, a traveler, a thinker, a seeker, and a sister and a friend.

And through all that, her underlying motto is, “Be a good human.”

“I find that when I do that, everything else seems to fall into place.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Damiana on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Veronica Riesgo

Veronica RiesgoFor TMC Nurse Manager Veronica Riesgo, her dedication to patients and her coworkers goes beyond the profession and is part of her passion to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Riesgo’s first priority and first career was her family. “I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years,” she said.  “But I always had a desire to help others and I always thought about pursuing work in nursing.”

When her children reached ages in double-digits, Riesgo volunteered at a local hospital to see if the desire was still there. “The passion was stronger than ever,” she said. “Soon I was enrolled in nursing school and working full-time as a patient care technician (PCT).”

As a full-time PCT, a full-time student and a full-time mom, there wasn’t much room on Riesgo’s plate. “I wouldn’t change anything – it was so beneficial and rewarding.”

After graduating and becoming an RN, Riesgo never slowed down – working in cardo-thoracic, transplant, ICU and other high-acuity units. “It is challenging, but when you have that opportunity to help someone on what might be their worst day – it is very meaningful,” explained Riesgo.

With remarkable stress and a dizzying pace, high-acuity units have a reputation for burn-out. For Riesgo, a unique outlook has helped her thrive in the demanding environment and kept her coming back, day-after-day.

“It’s a dedication to people, not just the profession,” she said. “A dedication to the patients and the incredible nurses I work with. We know that no matter what happens or how hard the day is, we’re going to make it happen, together.”

This incredible attitude, combined with her knowledge of critical care and strong organizational skills paved the way to management positions where she has achieved notable successes, such as helping reduce the patient injury rate by 45 percent in just one year.

Now managing a 36-bed, combined critical care unit with more than 100 staff reporting to her, Riesgo was named one of the 2018 Fabulous 50 nurses. “I’m so honored,” she said. “I’m grateful for my experiences and the nurses I work with every day.”

Advice from a Fab 50 nurse? “When you put others first, it changes your perspective and you recognize that you are involved in something bigger than yourself.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Veronica on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Charles Bascom

Charles BascomA physician yells “stat,” labs and med orders fly, nurses and techs scurry at a fevered pace. For staff, the Emergency Department can be an extraordinarily stressful environment, but that’s not what first comes to the mind of ED Lead Nurse Charles ‘Will’ Bascom.

“Our responsibility is to give 150 percent and treat each patient like they are family,” said Bascom. The longtime ED nurse began his career as an EMT/firefighter and moved into nursing after experiencing a serious injury. He completed his training in the ED and garnered experiences in psychiatric, float and critical care venues.

“At first, I worked in several nursing care settings – but I always ended up coming back to the ED.” So, what is it that kept Bascom returning to one of healthcare’s most challenging environments?

“Being there for patients and their families during one of their toughest times,” Bascom said confidently. “For any nurse, in any setting, it’s challenging and you never know what situation is going to walk through that door, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding to know you made a difference in a patient’s life.”

For Bascom, providing exceptional care with compassion goes hand-in-hand. “If you make the effort to show that you really care, patients will pick-up on your sincere intent,” he said. “They will feel more comfortable sharing important things about their health that will help you provide even better care.”

Respected for observing best practices, Bascom is also known for adhering to strict safety standards. “You have to keep your head in the game, be mindful, and ask questions to ensure the best for patients and ED coworkers.”

Yet, some still ask how Bascom consistently provides such outstanding care, shift-after-shift and year-after-year. “It’s about your motivation,” he said. “It has to be more than a title or a paycheck. If you’re in this because you have a passion for helping people – the reward is ten-fold.”

In addition to his busy schedule, Bascom is attending graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner. “This next step is very important to me because I will be able to do even more for the community and patient population.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Will on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

TMC, Pima Council on Aging salute those who have witnessed a century

IMG_0432If you were 100 years old, what would you do to celebrate life?

Tucson Medical Center and Pima Council on Aging had a chance to ask just that of 48 centenarians, who gathered at TMC for the 31st annual Salute to Centenarians – the largest known gathering in the country of those who have reached 99 years or older.

Geneva Borrowman, who reached 100 in January, starts every day with a prayer of gratitude for all she has in her life. In Geneva’s case, that’s a lot, with 55 great-grandchildren!

Don Davis, who was a star even as a kid as a child actor in silent films, celebrates by riding a bicycle – and enjoys the occasional martini (gin, straight up, one olive) on the patio in the evening.

IMG_0437For Aniceto Gonda, who was born in the Philippines 101 years ago in April and served in the Army, it’s about looking forward to each day with optimism. “And most of all, try not to worry and just live life as it comes.”

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said he was inspired by the myriad ways the collective gathering had impacted the world, from serving in the military, volunteering, staffing elections, supporting churches and caring for their families and others. “Each one of you has enriched the world and taught us about the art of living – and for that, we are all thankful,” he said.

Maya Luria, director of TMC for Seniors, applauded the group for reaching such a significant milestone. “You have certainly lived a life that has laughter and love, but at times tested your strength, your courage, your values. The wisdom you have gained and shared along the way is priceless.”

A big thanks to the elected officials who helped honor the group and for A Touch of Grey barbershop quartet, which provided the entertainment, as well as to Brookdale Senior Living Solutions for the lunch and Sierra del Sol for the cupcakes.

Mission Moment: Nurse helped organize drive to help family in darkest time

Jenna CarboneIt was hard for Jenna Carbone to imagine that a family would have to weather so many blows at a single time.

A young mother was making the wrenching decision to stop intervention for her husband, who had suffered cardiac arrest.

Their baby had come just two weeks before – she had been so pregnant that her elementary-school-aged son had to perform CPR when his dad collapsed, guided by a 911 dispatcher. The family had recently moved from California, so there were no friends or family to turn to for support. And money would be tight: the husband had been the traditional breadwinner while his wife took care of the kids.

A TMC Intensive Care Unit nurse, Carbone held the newborn for an entire shift to allow the mom and son some time to say goodbye. The Mom-Baby Unit supplied formula and diapers, and Child Life specialists helped the boy work through his grief and the long hours at the hospital.

While the staff was helping with the baby, they got to thinking about the upcoming school year. “Mom was making funeral plans and trying to adjust to a brand new baby in a brand new city. It just didn’t seem right she was having to do all of this by herself – who could put it all together on a good day? We couldn’t imagine she’d have the time or ability to go shop for school supplies,” Carbone explained.

And the boy was such an inspiration, she said. “You could tell he had faith. He would try to comfort others to tell them he would see his dad in Heaven someday and that it was better than having him suffer,” she recalled. Even as young as he was, he was trying to help hold the family together.

The power of teamwork was immediately clear to Carbone, who has been a nurse for six years.

Case Management called the school to get the list of items the boy would need. Within hours, staff from the Lab and Finance and clinical areas started bringing supplies – everything from a tablet for the boy, to diapers, baby bouncers and professional clothes for the mom for future job interviews.

Carbone filled up her hatchback and even though she couldn’t see out of the rear view mirror, set off to deliver the supplies to the family’s rural home.

Carbone said it was her honor to help – and thanked her colleagues across the hospital for their contributions. “We see some fragile situations sometimes and it’s really nice when you know there are things we can do to help and to try to bring comfort when people are going through difficult times. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve them and to help another person in need.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we doHundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

TMC wins gold in national healthcare advertising awards

Tucson Medical Center’s pediatric and maternity campaigns won three acknowledgements in the national Healthcare Advertising Awards.

Of more than 4,000 entries, TMC was one of 360 winning the gold for its television ads, based on the findings of a national panel of judges who were looking for creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact.

The television campaign, created in conjunction with Hilton and Myers Advertising to highlight TMC’s maternity and pediatric services, won the gold. The overall campaign, which included digital spots and billboards, took a silver.

The campaign separately also won a merit award in what is the largest healthcare advertising awards competition and among the top 10 of all advertising awards.

“It was a lot of fun creating these spots and celebrating the joy of movement and recovery, but what makes these awards particularly meaningful is that the children in our

commercials aren’t actors but children from our own community and the moms and babies who danced together were our own patients,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit, noting TMC physicians and staff also participated.

“They are the face of TMC and they really are the winners of this recognition.”

Strange also thanked the Tucson Twist-Its jump rope team for coming out – this time without the cameras – to help TMC open its new Pediatric Emergency Department within TMC for Children.

Ready for another round? You can check out our pediatric videos here and here, and our maternity video here. And stay posted….We’ve got new spots coming out next week that build on the existing campaign!

TMC for Seniors director honored with Remarkable Mom recognition

IMG_0021Maya Luria’s heart shred watching her 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey, struggle in her battle with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

One painful memory was watching her daughter see herself for the first time during chemotherapy treatment without the long blonde locks that were such a hallmark for the high school senior.

But that was before she watched the surprisingly transformative power of a professional photo shoot, when she watched Kelsey ditch her wig and then light up, laugh and pose. It was an unplanned event – just a kind gesture from an acquaintance. But Kelsey had realized – hair or no – those resulting images reflected her own strength, confidence and determination.

She wanted other children and families to feel that same sense of empowerment in the face of what can be an unrelenting disease. In the hospital, Kelsey said she wanted the service to be called the Bald Beauties Project and it would offer free professional photographs to children and teens fighting cancer.

Drawn to journalism, writing and sports, the Catalina Foothills High student had planned to beat the disease and attend the University of Arizona. She passed away a few days after her 18th birthday.

Luria has kept Kelsey’s spirit alive by leading the Bald Beauties Project her daughter envisioned – an accomplishment that is being recognized at the annual Remarkable Celebration by Tu Nidito that this year is honoring five local mothers.

“Kelsey once wrote that she would change the world and this is our way of honoring that,” Luria said. “This was her vision and something I want to continue to offer to others as a way to help families who are going through unthinkable strain.”

Luria, also mom to 17-year-old Max – the light of her life and now a high school senior – has treasured those photos of her daughter.

Since its inception, the Bald Beauties Project has provided more than 85 photo shoots for children throughout the community – and the demand continues to grow. There have already been 15 photo shoots this year, with another 10 in process.

“I feel every mom is a remarkable mom, so I was really honored to be considered for this recognition,” Luria said, and especially since Kelsey gave her back so much. “Kelsey lived her life with strength and courage and love – and that’s something I hold with me every day.”

To read more about Bald Beauties, please visit the Bald Beauties Project website.  

To learn more about the Remarkable Moms being honored May 12, please visit Tu Nidito’s website 

Stroke Prevention Saturday – serving the community, saving lives

After experiencing a heart attack, two strokes and a ministroke, Mr. Kissel wasn’t taking any chances with his health.

“In 2013 I was visiting my doctors regularly and I was doing everything I could to prevent another stroke,” said Kissel. “When my wife and I heard about TMC’s free Stroke Preventions Saturday – we knew right away we’d be going.”

stroke awareness

Each year, Tucson Medical Center hosts Stroke Prevention Saturday, a local event providing free vascular screenings. The wide-breadth of tests involve many medical professionals and advanced diagnostic equipment.

Why has TMC invested in providing free events like Stroke Saturday

“Because stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability,” said Renee McAloney, the TMC stroke program coordinator. “It is uplifting to know we are assisting community members who may not have access to these important screenings – I believe we are saving lives.”

From checking cholesterol and oxygen saturation to an electrocardiogram and a carotid doppler ultrasound, attendees have the opportunity to discuss results with a health care provider.

The screening that revealed a life-threatening issue

Carotid doppler ultrasound screening provided at the 2013 Stroke Prevention Saturday revealed Mr. Kissel’s carotid artery (the blood vessel delivering blood to the brain) was more than 50 percent blocked by plaque.

Kissel took the reading to his doctors. “I was referred to a vascular surgeon who said I needed to have surgery right away to clear the blockage.”

After the surgery, Mr. Kissel learned just how serious the situation was. “The doctor told me the soft plague in my carotid artery was dangling and could have broken off at any moment and caused a massive stroke.”

Since that procedure, Mr. Kissel has not experienced another stroke or ministroke. “The Stroke Prevention Saturday screening led to my surgery, and I’m grateful,” he said.

Make screening part of your annual care

The event is a now part of the annual routine in the Kissel household. “It takes place every spring in the March to April time frame, and I make sure my wife goes every year to get checked.”

Mr. Kissel feels healthier, strong and better these days and he says Stroke Prevention Saturday made a difference. “I’m not sure what might have happened without that screening.”

For more information about Stroke Prevention Saturday, contact TMC for Seniors at (520) 324-4345 or seniorservices@tmcaz.com

Know your stroke risk

Anyone can have a stroke, even children although the causes in children tend to be different. The elderly are not the only ones at risk for stroke although age is one factor. Stroke risk also increases with factors like increased blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation. Know those factors you can control for. This guide from the American Stroke Association highlights factors you need to be aware of.

 

Sign up to receive the TMC for Seniors event calendar  which include events like Stroke Prevention Saturday.

Pediatric Emergency now within TMC for Children

The Tucson Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department has relocated within TMC for Children.

Patients and loved ones will gain entry to the Pediatric ED by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

The layout and design of the 14-bed Pediatric ED is structured in a horseshoe shape to enable staff to monitor patients more easily, spend more time with patients and promote better teamwork.

In addition, the new location is in close proximity to other TMC for Children services, which allows TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

The Pediatric ED also offers online appointment scheduling. Visit our home page to find out more.

TMC chaplain shares blessing for relocated Pediatric Emergency Department opening Monday

BDP47481.jpgOn Monday Tucson Medical Center opens its newly relocated Pediatric Emergency Department.

The 14-bed department relocates to TMC for Children, which includes the pediatric inpatient and intensive care units, allowing TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services. The new department is accessed by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

Staff were recently invited to celebrate the $2.7 million renovation of the new space and share a blessing BDP47475with TMC Chaplain Mary Klaehn as they prepared to transition from the old space:

May this place be a place of blessing and health.
May these doors be wide enough to receive all those who are in need of healing.
May this be a place of welcome and hope to all those who are hurting…in body, mind, or spirit.
May this be a place of safety for all who enter.
May this be a place where the door is too high to admit complacency, selfishness, or harshness.
May this threshold be no stumbling block to young feet.
May this floor lighten the steps of all who tread upon its surface and be a stable place to stand.
May the foundation upon which we stand sink its roots deep into the earth from which we
sprang and to which we will return.
May these walls soak in the rich sounds of laughter and loving,
            drain away the pain of those who are hurting,
            and be protection from the fiercest winds of adversity.
May this roof hold strong and provide shelter for all who seek it.
May this place be a home to creativity and kindness.
May those who visit here and work here know only blessing and peace.
May it be so.  Amen.

TMC director, Beth Dorsey, honored as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Beth Dorsey, Dietitian, President Elect of Academy of Nutrition and DietitiansBeth Dorsey couldn’t believe it when a recent Saturday Night Live skit used a relatively rare word that just happens to also be one of her favorites: dietitian.

In the skit, the protagonist’s sandwich fell on the ground, much to his consternation. He went on to complain that he has GI issues and that meal had been specifically planned for him by a dietitian.

“He said he was working with a dietitian! I couldn’t believe it – it was like we had arrived,” joked Dorsey, the director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tucson Medical Center, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The designation recognizes Dorsey’s commitment to the field of dietetics and celebrates her professional accomplishments and pursuit of life-long learning.

We caught up with Dorsey for a few questions:

  • What is the reaction from people when you explain what you do?

I get one of two reactions: They ask what they should eat, or they share a confessional that they need to eat better.

  • So what do you tell them when they ask what they should eat?

I let them know that there isn’t a magic pill. For dietitians looking to help their clients create change, it’s all about relationship building, communications and goal setting. The fact is, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and that’s why this is usually not easy. We start with what they currently eat and what their goals are. Then we go from there.

  • It has to be difficult to keep track of all the nutritional information out there. It seems we’re inundated with it.

There is incredible complexity in what we do because of the breadth of patients we see, who have everything from easy issues to address to very difficult, chronic issues to manage. On top of that, we see all ages, from beginning to end of life. And the reality is, that something innocuous like eating a banana is really not advisable for some people. If you have kidney malfunction, that may not be a food of choice for you. If you are taking an iron supplement, you have to take it with other vitamins, such as C, to increase absorption of iron in the stomach. There is a lot of nuance involved in what we do.

  • What are some of the challenges that face the field?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and are incredibly skilled people. They must have a bachelor’s degree and 1,200 hours of supervised, post-graduate practice, and they also must pass a national exam and maintain credentials with 75 hours of continuing education every five years

Even with all of that, we still have a hard time being reimbursed by insurance for the work we do. Medicare only reimburses for some very specific disease states. Other insurances may cover up to four visits a year.

We’d also like to increase the diversity of our workforce. America’s first dietitian is considered to be Sarah Rorer, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849 and educated herself in chemistry, anatomy and medicine and eventually, was consulted to prepare special meal plans for patients. The field continues to be dominated by women and we would like it to evolve to see more gender and ethnic diversity.

  • What would your recommendations be for people who want to improve their nutritional intake?

First, check your insurance to see if dietetic visits are covered. Dietitians can tailor and assess the total picture of your health using your individual lifestyle along with your lab results and any medications you might be taking to formulate a nutrition plan.

Secondly, some of the standbys still haven’t changed. If you do not have any medical issues that restrict your intake, drink plenty of fluids, eat moderate portions and enjoy lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. And keep in mind, too, that less isn’t always more. Don’t skip meals and starve yourself or you will undermine your efforts by either slowing down your metabolism or binge eating later.

Dorsey, who serves as president-elect of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and directs a dietetic internship at Tucson Medical Center, was also named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Mission Moments: TMC nurse donates plants for new garden honoring organ donors

JobyJoby Jacob has been groomed in intensive care units the entire span of her 19-year career as a nurse, witnessing countless moments when patients and families experience their most vulnerable times.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the hard decisions family members have had to make,” said Joby, who came to Tucson Medical Center 18 months ago.

Organ donation is not right for every family, but when there is no hope of recovery for the patient, Jacobs said she has observed that organ donation can bring some degree of comfort to both the health care provider and the family. “In a situation where families and loved ones are in unimaginable sorrow, it seems to bring some degree of peace in their heart to have an opportunity to give and make a difference in the life of someone else.”

She recalls one family in Baltimore, in deep mourning when their healthy son was brought into the hospital in a coma after being mugged by a street gang.  She witnessed how hard it was for a mom to lose her son – and yet bravely decide to use his life to help others awaiting life-saving transplants. The family came back every year to the unit – not only to thank the healthcare team, but to share how organ donation had helped lessen the heartache of losing their loved one.

When Joby came to TMC, she became the chair of the Donor Network Committee, which has a focus on ensuring that both the staff and the family are supported and honored in such situations. The idea of the Garden of Life came to materialize, which was dedicated at a ceremony in mid-April. “I wanted a space where family or staff can sit and respect the choices that are being made, and have that time to reflect in a dedicated area,” she said.

Joby spent her own time and donated some of the plants and flowers to make the garden as inviting as possible. She herself doesn’t have a green thumb, but picked out what the nursery told her would be beautiful – yet hardy – stock for the garden.

Flowers hold a special place for Joby because her 7-year-old son has a routine in which he picks a flower along the way for her on their family walks together. “For me, just a simple flower says so much and has so much meaning, especially because it represents love and appreciation. I want that feeling and ambiance for the patio.”

As a professional development specialist, Jacob said she knew that nursing was the right profession for her.  “No matter how mentally, physically and emotionally demanding our job is, every day as a nurse we are given the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. And for that reason, we are blessed.”

TMC dedicates Garden of Life patio honoring generosity of organ donors

GardenDedicationDid you know one organ donor can save up to eight lives?

In honor of those who made the choice to share the gift-of-life, Tucson Medical Center Tuesday dedicated a new Garden of Life Memorial patio on the TMC campus.

The soothing patio area features a garden of flowers and a tree hand-painted by TMC facilities as a symbol of strength and life.

Over the last decade, 33 organ donors at TMC have saved the lives of 83 others. The first plaque to be placed on the tree honors Jared Koltnow, whose gift saved three other people after he passed in 2016. His family and friends helped place the plaque and raise the Donate Life flag at the campus entrance that flies as a beacon of hope for those awaiting transplants.

DonateLifeFlagIn addition to the 16 lives saved in 2017 alone, 21 tissue donors and 14 ocular donors at TMC helped enhance and heal hundreds more. Each tissue donor can heal up to 75 lives, and one cornea donor can restore the sight of two individuals.

“It is our hope that the memorial reflects our deep respect and gratitude for organ donors,” said Joby Jacobs, a TMC professional development specialist and a champion for organ donation. “They – and their loved ones – have brought life, hope and compassion to others, and that is truly worthy of recognition and reverence.”

The need for organ and tissue donation is still great, said Chelsea Scheeler, the donor program development coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona. “Sadly, with more than 2,400 Arizona residents on a waiting list for organ donation, thousands of people die while waiting for this life-saving gift,” she said.

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation. For more information, please visit https://www.donatelifeaz.org/

Pregnant? Set the stage for breastfeeding before your due date

You work.
You’re about to have a baby.
You plan to breastfeed.
You plan to continue to breastfeed when you go back to work.
Now, just how is that going to work?

Despite all the known benefits of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of our children, many of us face barriers and challenges when we return to work that derail our efforts to continue to breastfeed. Here are some tips from our lactation consultants about actions you can take while you’re pregnant and still working to make things easier upon your return to the workplace.

 

Set the Stage-Before Your Due Date

Before your due date talk to your employer or supervisor about your plans to breastfeed and the positive implications for your workplace if you’re able to continue to breastfeed and to express milk when you return to work:

  • Lower health care costs for both mother and child. Breastfed babies have lower rates of infection and illness and breastfeeding has positive implications for mothers too, including lower rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Lower absentee rates
  • Higher employee morale (and so productivity) and positive view of a “family-friendly” employer.
  • Retention of experienced employee

It is also useful to know the legal requirement of employers to be supportive. The Healthcare Reform Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) made clear the responsibility of all employers to provide suitable (private, not a bathroom) space and reasonable time for mothers to express their milk multiple times a day without interruption. You can find more information about the federal law here.

Make a plan

Before your due date, come up with a plan with your employer or supervisor to make pumping successful. Your plan should include:

  • The location of a private, non-bathroom space, where you will not be disturbed or viewed while you express milk.
  • How your work schedule will allow you two to three approximately 15 minute (plus travel time) breaks every work day.
  • Where you will be able to store your breast milk. Susan suggests a cooler that you can take to and from work.
  • Where you will be able to store and clean your breast pumping equipment.
  • How you might modify your schedule at the beginning to ease into being away from your baby. If possible, see if you can return to work for reduced hours the first few weeks or starting in the middle of your work week so that you have less time away from baby the first week back.

Once you have agreed upon a plan, write it down and share a copy with your employer and supervisor.

Don’t forget to tap into a powerful resource, your colleagues. Is there someone in your workplace who breastfed their children? Or whose partner breastfed? Can this person be a champion for you?

Sign up for Breastfeeding Basics – A class for expectant mothers to support them on the breastfeeding journey

Until we have a child and start to breastfeed, we may be oblivious to those in our workplace who were forging the way with regard to breastfeeding and working. These colleagues may be able to offer support and practical solutions for your specific workplace.

If you work at a site with a human resources office you may wish to check in with the folks there, first, as there may be a site-based program to support you. The Business Case for Breastfeeding from Womenshealth.gov provides a wealth of information your human resources or employer can use. Among other items this document includes a list of myths and facts that you may wish to arm yourself with in case your employer or supervisor has concerns.

Social worker named Heart of Hospice for her work on behalf of patients, families, staff

After being hoodwinked into coming to a celebration she thought was for a colleague, Marybeth Racioppi was speechless when her name was announced last week as the Heart of Hospice for the first quarter. But she shouldn’t have been surprised that the recognition was for her.

“Marybeth is a true asset to our organization,” wrote one colleague in nominating the social worker. “She consistently partners with the nurses to take a team approach to patient care.”

A 14-year TMC Hospice veteran, Racioppi “works diligently to ensure that the patient’s and family’s spiritual, psychosocial and medical needs are all addressed,” the colleague said.

When asked about the secret to her success as a social worker, Racioppi said it boils down to assessing the needs not only for the patient, but for the entire family.

“I take a systemic view of families,” she said. “Everyone in the room has meaning, biases, beliefs and feelings. My challenge is to learn the dynamics and make them each feel supported.”

“Marybeth is so diligent in finding out pertinent information regarding patients and their families to be able to provide the best care for them all, making each one feel cared for in a special way at a difficult time,” wrote another nominator. “Using her wry, sometimes irreverent sense of humor, she gets to the heart of the matter and starts problem-solving.”

And it’s not only patients and families who get her support.

“She also serves as a rock solid support for all of us staffers here at Peppi’s House,” another colleague wrote. “She lets us unload and decompress, offering guidance if needed or requested. And her advice is always ‘spot on.’ ”

“Best of all,” this person wrote, “she teaches us to problem solve with her so that we grow as individuals and as an organization.”

As Heart of Hospice for the quarter, Racioppi’s name and photo goes onto a recognition plaque on the unit, she received a pin and gets a dedicated parking space until next quarter. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

Want to be part of a team that makes a difference?

Click to learn about volunteering for TMC Hospice Home Care.

New technology allows minimally invasive fix for pancreatic cysts

AxiosStent.jpgPancreatic cysts, the fluid collections caused by pancreatic inflammation, can be painful and dangerous.

Some pancreatic cysts will resolve without treatment, but if they don’t, and if they grow larger or become infected they can cause abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Typically stubborn cysts were resolved using surgery, but there is a new minimally invasive treatment option available at Tucson Medical Center to people suffering from certain types of pancreatic cyst.

The new method involves draining the cyst using a non-surgical approach. Using an endoscope (a tube with a light and camera) the physician places a specialized stent, called an AXIOS stent, between the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract where it will drain the cyst.

The endoscope camera allows a direct view of the GI tract.  The Doppler ultrasound capability ensures physicians can avoid blood vessels and find a safe site for drainage into the GI tract. These safety features, coupled with the shortened procedure time compared to the typical surgery make it a great option for those patients who qualify.

The procedure is not appropriate for all patients, based on the size and amount of fluid in a cyst, but it is a good option for those who qualify. “The pancreas, which produces the insulin that controls blood sugar levels, is a very fragile organ with a very important job, so any time we can have a less invasive approach, it is worth exploring that option,” said Mahala Castle, manager of the GI Lab.

The stent is removed within 60 days and requires some followup appointments to ensure the best outcomes.

For more information about AXIOS stent procedure at Tucson Medical Center, consult your primary care doctor.

Helping sexual assault victims take a first step toward healing and justice

 

Too often stigmatized and seldom talked about, sexual assault is a serious, community health issue. Someone becomes a sexual assault victim every two minutes.*

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to lift stigma’s cloud, recognize the needs of sexual assault victims and acknowledge our community’s responsibility to provide care and support.

For victims, this is the first step toward healing and justice,” said Stephanie Green, RN, MSN, who oversees the Southern Arizona Center against Sexual Assault (SACASA) forensic exam program. “There is a relief for victims knowing the exam will support prosecution. Victims want as much evidence as possible to show this was wrong and not invited.”

For more than 10 years, Tucson Medical Center has partnered with (SACASA) to complete a comprehensive forensic exam for victims of sexual assault and provide immediate care and resources – the only program of its kind in Southern Arizona.

At the TMC Emergency Department, there is a dedicated private space for sexual assault evaluation and treatment. SACASA provides certified sexual assault nurse examiners who work with physicians to treat, document and provide additional support and resources.

The quiet room is a dedicated private space, with soft lighting, and a calming space in our emergency department

“A victim’s needs are far more than physical,” Green said. “From necessities like food, clothing and safe shelter to complex needs like behavioral health-care, prescription fills and transportation to medical appointments – we can make immediate referrals to help victims at every level.”

For the care providers, it is more than a program. “It is our priority to provide the most advanced and compassionate care for sexual assault victims during the worst time in their lives,” said Cynthia Carsten, RN, MSN, the director of patient care services at the TMC Emergency Department.

A separate, dedicated quiet room

Green noted that sexual assault is a community health matter that affects us all – men and women, adults and children. “Stigma and avoidance will perpetuate the problem, hindering every victim’s recovery with unjust shame and fear.”

As a community member, we encourage you to learn more about sexual assault, have more open discussions about your knowledge and build empathy and understanding.

Green further explained that collective education and action are the answers. “It will take a community effort to prevent, and hopefully end, this community health problem.”

If you have been the immediate victim of sexual assault call 911. If you are a victim and seeking resources, contact SACASA at (520) 327-7273. Learn more about sexual assault at www.sacasa.org or call (520) 327-1171. SACASA is a division of CODAC.

Dine Out For Safety – support survivors of sexual violence by dining out on April 18 – participating restaurants will donate up to 20 percent of proceeds to support SACASA programs.

Mission Moments: Providing comfort in a time of crisis

Cheryl.jpgCheryl Kohout has guided many people through difficult moments. A hospice volunteer for four years and a former sexual assault crisis line volunteer for more than 12, the digital media communications analyst at Tucson Medical Center has helped patients and families through the swoops of emotion that can accompany times of transition or stress.

When Kohout was walking to her car one recent evening after work, she stopped to help a visitor clearly in a state of distress.

Experiencing what looked to be car trouble, the woman had stopped her vehicle on a tight roadway and was sitting on the curb, crying in frustration because it was just one too many burdens to carry that day.

Kohout worked with TMC Security to help get the car moved to a safe place and sat with her on the curb, listening to her and reassuring her. She also helped walk her back from self-blame by reminding her she wouldn’t make such disparaging remarks to another person and she certainly merited the same kindness she would give others.

Kohout shared her tips for helping others in moments of distress:
• Make sure they’re safe, first and foremost.
Check that they’re not in immediate danger and that they don’t need emergency treatment. They can’t move forward to any healthier place until their physical space is secure.
• Let them know they’re OK.
• Practice active listening.
Reassure them that you are hearing what they’re saying, it often helps to reflect back and acknowledge their feelings. “I understand why you would be feeling frustrated right now.”
• Help them figure out their next steps.
“What are you going to do after we’re done talking?” Sometimes in moments of stress, people need help to find their way. Empowering them to make their action plan may also include steering them to potentially more appropriate intervention and services.

Stopping to help that evening ultimately took more than an hour of her time, but Kohout never regrets helping others. “It’s important to me to make connections and to give back in a meaningful way,” she said.

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

 

Green Eggs and ham, anyone? Are those eggs safe to eat?

Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, another spring holiday, eggs are the hot ticket right now. And unless your name is Sam, you probably don’t want to be eating many green eggs!

When I was little, we would hunt for eggs in the yard…the real thing AND we would eat them afterwards! I also used to eat mud pies and share ice cream cones with my dog. Obviously, food safety wasn’t of much concern to me back then!

Today, because of the rise in food borne illnesses, we have to be much more cautious and concerned about how we handle our food. Here are a few tips to keep your holidays eggcellent:

Egg Safety Tips:

Is it safe to eat the hard-boiled eggs we decorated?

Yes if you:
-Store them in the refrigerator
-When hiding them only place them away from bacterial sources such as pets and dirt
-Toss eggs that are cracked, dirty or have been out of the fridge for more than two hours
-Use all leftover cooked eggs within one week

Or you could cook two sets of eggs! One set for an egg hunt or centerpiece display, and the other for eating. That way, the eggs you eat can stay properly refrigerated.

Consider using plastic eggs for hiding. You can use them year after year!

Can I use eggs after the “sell by” date?

Yes! Make sure you use the eggs within three weeks of the “sell-by” date and:
-Store eggs in the refrigerator at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
-When you buy eggs, make sure they are sold in a refrigerator case and that none of the eggs are cracked
-When you get home put the eggs in the refrigerator and keep them in their original carton displaying the expiration date.

While many refrigerators have a specialized egg rack in the door, don’t use it. Place your eggs in the main portion of the refrigerator. The egg rack on the door is not the best place to store eggs because the temperature is warmer there than on the interior shelves.

How do I hard-boil an egg?

Hard-boiled eggs should be cooked until the white and yolk are completely set.
-Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water.
-Bring water to a boil, cover the saucepan, then turn off the heat.
-Let eggs stand in water for 15 minutes.
-Remove eggs and place in a bowl of ice cold water to cool.

Do hard-boiled eggs spoil?

Fresh eggs direct from the chicken have a protective coating that makes it difficult for bacteria to permeate the shell and contaminate the egg. The eggs you purchase from the store are often subjected to a high pressure water stream to wash the dirt off. This washing also takes off the protective covering and finally when eggs are hard boiled any remaining protective coating is washed away. Make sure hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within a week.

Eek! Why is the inside of my hard-boiled egg green?

Oops! You’ve overcooked your egg. The sulfur and iron compounds in the egg have reacted on the yolk’s surface, but don’t worry the green-colored yolk is safe to eat.

Have more questions? The Eat Right website which is a fabulous resource for all things nutrition including food safety questions.

Mary Atkinson is the Director of Wellness at TMC and a register dietitian.

Sit. Stay. Bad human! 9 tips for the office worker

9 tips for the desk workerAs an office worker you may be bound to a desk and a computer. For most of us this means that we may sit most of the day. You might think staying seated is one of the safest things you could do, but too much sitting can hurt your body in a number of ways:

How sitting too much can hurt your body:

  • Increases your risk of heart disease
  • Increases your risk of diabetes
  • Causes poor circulation in your legs, which could lead to varicose veins or blood clots
  • May lead to fatigue and food cravings
  • Less activity leads to weight gain
  • Weakens your abdominal and gluteal (butt) muscles
  • Contributes to other structural problems in the spine and hips

We checked in with Laurie Ledford RD, our very own Nutritionista, for her tips to help us escape the chains of our desks.

What is a desk-bound office worker to do? Here are a few tips to get you out of your chair.

  1. Don’t rely on an hour or less of exercise to make up for a whole day of sitting. You need to get up and move more often than that to offset the bad effects of sitting.
  2. If you have a sit-to-stand desk, alternate positions throughout the day.
  3. If you don’t have a special desk, stand up whenever you don’t need to be touching your keyboard or your desk – e.g., when answering the phone, while reading, while talking with a coworker.
  4. Sit on an exercise ball or a stool with no back, so that your core muscles will have to do some work. Always sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  5. Hold walking meetings.
  6. Drink lots of water (or other unsweetened beverage) throughout the day, so that you will have to get up to relieve yourself of this fluid frequently.
  7. Get away from your desk every 30-45 minutes to give your eyes a break and do something active – e.g., pushups against your desk, wall sitting (back against the wall with legs bent at 90 degrees), squats, calf raises, brisk walking, stretches or yoga poses.
  8. Keep a resistance band in your office. Use it to perform squats, lunges and upper body exercises during your breaks.
  9. Park far away, in a shady spot. This gives you a nice little walk to and from work, plus a cooler car in the afternoon.

For more information on how just a little more standing for office or around the home can make all the difference check out this post on how to burn more calories without adding a workout. 

Laurie Ledford RDLaurie Ledford  is a Registered Dietitian at Tucson Medical Center who uses her knowledge and experience every day to support patients making healthy nutrition choices and prevent or combat the major killers of our time. Have a question about something you’ve heard or seen about nutrition or diet? Send your question to the Nutritionista at communications at tmcaz.com.

Pregnant? Finding sleep elusive? Try a body pillow!

The ever-changing state of your body during pregnancy inevitably makes getting comfortable enough to beat those fits of insomnia feel impossible. Your body is working to create a new life and an important part of that process is rest.

You know that sleeping on your back again will have to wait and the best position for you and your baby is with you on your side, but that doesn’t make it any easier. With a little help from the right pillow, you’ll ease the strain on your body and get a restful night’s sleep.

As with anything, the best option for you won’t necessarily be the best for someone else. There are a variety of options out there to fit your particular needs.

The pregnancy body pillow – designed in the curved shape and length of your body, this option is like snuggling your partner all night.

The u-shaped pregnancy pillow – the name says it all, this versatile pillow is constructed to wrap around your body from front to back, allowing you to turn from your right to left sides and prop your head up when on your back.

The inflatable pregnancy pillow – shaped like a pool float, this option has a belly-shaped hole that allows you to rest comfortably on your stomach.

The wedge – small and intended for targeted areas, this pillow can be shaped to fit between knees, under the lower back or anywhere else that needs a little help.

“Getting enough rest is vitally important for your body and the development of your baby,” said Stacie Wood, clinical educator for Women’s and Children’s Services and Tucson Medical Center.

Now that you know your options, if you’ve got the DIY spirit and the reluctance to spend extra money, get creative! Hop onto Pinterest and get those creative juices flowing. Check out these pins we’ve saved for you on DIY Pregnancy Pillows.

TMC volunteer shares two best tools that helped her lose 48 pounds

DonnStairs.jpgDonn Corder has battled extra pounds for most of her life. So when she decided to fight back, she turned to two tools: Measuring cups and a food scale.

Corder, 59, who has volunteered in pastoral services at TMC for two years, was attending a lunch & learn session for volunteers when she learned about TMC’s weight management program. “I knew I needed to do something,” Corder explained. “My weight was creeping up and no matter what I seemed to do, it wasn’t going away. I also knew I didn’t want surgery and I also didn’t want a ‘system.’ I wanted to eat real food and not something out of a box.”

Corder met with registered dietitian Laurie Ledford, who went over her blood work to determine any risk factors. Corder was borderline on cholesterol and she comes from a long line of family members with diabetes.

Corder was surprised when she left the visit without a food plan to follow. Instead, she left with a food log, instructed to write down everything she ate for a week.

They discovered her servings were too large. The average serving for cereal is one cup. She had been just filling her bowl, and the result was twice that.

“I eat fast, so I didn’t realize how much I was eating. I started measuring and weighing everything,” she said. And she started to be more conscious of what she was eating.

Take cheese – a food Corder is particularly fond of. Ledford asked if she could really taste it in her salad, for example. And the answer was: Not especially. So the two of them agreed: Corder should eat her cheese, but she should have a chunk of it as a snack and really savor it.

Same with ice cream. Come on: Who eats half a cup of ice cream? But now, if Corder has a craving, she buys those individual servings at the grocery store to help her manage the portion size.

She made other little changes. Two percent milk dropped to one percent. She makes her own salad dressing. She makes snack bags of trail mix she’s made herself with just mixed nuts and raisins, since the ones at the store often have additional candy in them. She even put two weeks of snack bags in her carry on luggage when she took a two week trip.

With the help of the program’s physical activity counseling, she also added in more activity, whether it’s walking the hallways at TMC, jumping on the elliptical machine in the living room or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“It’s worked for me because I don’t feel deprived because I still have my favorite things.”

The only downside? A shopper she is not, and she now needs new clothes.

“You’re not going to be perfect every day, but it’s a question of whether you can make progress overall. It’s made a huge difference for me because I feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.”

To find out more about TMC’s weight management program please contact TMC Wellness, (520) 324-4163 or Wellness@tmcaz.com

 

TMC Mega Raffle -Thank you Tucson for a record-breaking year!

 

The TMC Mega Raffle celebrated a record breaking year, selling out tickets faster than ever before! And that wasn’t the only record broken – the 50/50 jackpot reached a record-high of $693,600.

“We are so grateful to the community for their extraordinary support,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Mega Raffle proceeds directly contribute to hospital services, programs and equipment that help provide exceptional health care with compassion to the communities we serve.”

Last year, Mega Raffle funds brought the most advanced echocardiogram imaging machine to TMC, and supported new cardiac rehabilitation equipment for heart surgery patients. The TMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received a new transport incubator, providing life-sustaining care for infants who must be transported across Southern Arizona.

“We thank each and every ticket buyer for supporting Tucson’s locally owned-community hospital,” Duran said. “The Mega Raffle also has some incredible prizes and we wanted to share some of the winners’ stories with you.”

Grand Prize, A.F. Sterling Home

Frank and his wife, Sherrie are Tucson natives that have entered the TMC Mega Raffle the last couple of years. This year they purchased one ticket and entered the 50/50 jackpot. “TMC is a big part of our family and we love this cause,” said Frank.

Their children were born at TMC and their daughter has received treatment for her Asthma. Sherrie also worked at TMC as a clerk in the emergency room when she was attending school at the University of Arizona. When Frank learned that he was this year’s grand prize winner of the A.F. Sterling Home or $600,000 cash, he could not believe it.

Frank and his wife both work for local school districts and their winnings will allow them to help their children with their college education. “This is life changing for us – we are so grateful to TMC,” Frank said.

50/50 Jackpot, $693,600

Barbara Gomez of Mesa, Arizona, is a retired engineer that worked for the state of Arizona for 32 years and has been entering the TMC Mega Raffle since it began. Two years ago, she won Omaha steaks and was thrilled. This year, she was shocked when she learned she was the 50/50 jackpot winner and will be splitting $693,600 with TMC!

Gomez is a cancer survivor that received care at TMC almost 40 years ago. She said, “I’ve had blessed life and need to give back. I had health issues and members of my family have too, so anything I can do to support this cause, I want to do.”

Gomez said she’d like to do some things for her grandchildren and give to her church. “This is amazing, but even if I never won anything, I would keep entering.”

Grand Prize, 2018 Lexus LC

Beverly Kudla planned to enter the TMC Mega Raffle the last few years, but said she always missed the deadline.

This year she was determined to enter and she’s glad she did, as this years’ grand prize winner of the 2018 Lexus LC or $150,000 cash option. Kudla’s late husband received care at TMC before he passed away last May.

After learning she won the grand prize, Kudla shared that the day after the final drawing would have been her husband’s 88th birthday. “This is really a gift. I always wanted to enter win or lose because TMC has been good to us,” Kudla said. With her winnings, she hopes to plan an exotic vacation to celebrate her 84th birthday.

Honda Civic and $9,500

Andrew Kent has entered the TMC Mega Raffle every year but never won anything until now. “My family has a strong connection with TMC,” he explained. Growing up, his father was an anesthesiologist at TMC and his mother was involved in the TMC Auxiliary.

Kent’s four daughters and two grandchildren were all born at TMC and he worked at the hospital in transportation to help earn money while he attended college and graduate school. A retired school administrator that now works as a dean of students, Kent was excited and shocked to learn he’d won a 2018 Honda Civic and $9,500.

Toyota C-HR and $8,500

Melinda Diaz works as a server at a local restaurant and it was her day-off when she got the call and learned she’d won the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE plus $8,500.

“This news could not come at a better time,” said Diaz. “My car is not working right now, so this is amazing news!”

Diaz has entered the TMC Mega Raffle for several years, but this is the first time she’s won a prize. Her friends and family have received care at TMC. “It is a good cause and something worth giving my money to,” Diaz said.

Chief Nursing Officer, Marketing Manager go “Over the Edge” for the Girl Scouts

Four questions with TMC’s Chief Nursing Officer Mimi Coomler and Marketing Manager Tim Bentley on supporting the Girl Scouts by rappelling 17 stories from the 5151 E. Broadway Boulevard Office Tower on Saturday, March 24:

  1. What speaks to you about the Girl Scouts?

Coomler: The Girl Scouts is amazing at empowering young girls – and I support them so they can help more and more girls find their own center and their own power. My 7-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout so I’ve seen firsthand the great work they do.

Bentley:  I like their drive to instill confidence in girls at a young age. As a former high school coach for cross country and track, I truly believe that young people – especially girls – set themselves on a path to be successful by gaining confidence at a pivotal age.

2. Have you rappelled before?

Coomler: I haven’t, but I’m always up for an adventure!

Bentley: One time at a rock climbing gym. It was a 20-foot wall and all the young kids cheered me on when I did it. :/

3. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Coomler: I did the tango in front of 500 people to the tune of Sweet Caroline to raise money for the Diaper Bank. That was way out of my comfort zone.

Bentley: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane years ago – with a parachute of course. I’m assuming the step off the building will be similar to the step out of the airplane. Although, I’m hoping my answer will be different this time –

Parachute Instructor: “Ready, GO!”

Me (looking down 5,000 feet): “You mean, right now??!?”

  • 4. What’s the most important lesson young girls should learn?

Coomler: Dream Big! When I was little, we said, “Girls can do anything they want to.” Now, it is more a reality than ever. Find your voice, find your dream and go for it.

Bentley:  It’s OK for girls to be smart, it’s OK for girls to be successful and it’s OK for girls to be recognized for their accomplishments. Don’t ever downplay them.  And as a track coach, it’s always OK for the girls to be faster than the boys. I always told the girls #BeFierce #BeStrong #BeBrave

Rather than directly sponsoring Tim or Mimi to go over the edge, we encourage donations to the Girl Scouts of TEAM G.I.R.L. who will also be going over the edge on Saturday to support their Girl Scout sisters here in Southern Arizona.

Hip Hop dancing with Type 1 – Brody’s got this!

Hip hop dancing can be tough for anyone, but not for Brody – a seventh-grader living with the challenges of Type 1 diabetes.

“Diabetes doesn’t change who I am,” said twelve-year-old Brody. “But it is a disease that I have to manage on a constant basis in order to stay safe.”

The moves? Brody’s practiced for years. The look? He’s got it on lock. The music? Please. So what happens when his insulin pump comes out during a performance? Brody’s got this.

Brody doesn’t miss a single beat – incorporating the pump wires into his routine.

The situation is a metaphor for Brody’s life. When Type 1 diabetes unexpectedly surfaced – he didn’t let it affect his dance, and Brody doesn’t let Type 1 stop him from playing basketball, gaming, learning to play the tuba or experiencing all life’s got to offer.

But Brody says it much better. “Don’t let type one diabetes stop you from doing anything!”

At four, Brody and his family learned his pancreas was creating little to no insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic and life-long condition that causes blood sugar to spike and fall unexpectedly.

Surging blood sugar levels are far more than a nuisance, they can lead to serious medical complications and death if not properly managed through insulin therapy.

“I have to check [my blood sugar] before meals and before bed,” Brody explained. “If I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too high or if I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too low I have to test. I am very active and so I have to test before I play any sports or any dancing. Monitoring my blood sugar is a big part of having diabetes.”

Even though this brave young-man doesn’t let Type 1 slow him down, he admits his life would be different if there was a cure.

“I would definitely be free from having to test my blood sugar, put on new insulin pump sites or wear a continuous glucose monitor – things like that,” Brody said. “I wouldn’t get sick as much as I get sick now. My mom wouldn’t call me as much.”

You can help kids like Brody by supporting Type 1 research through events like the JDRF Sip, Savor & Celebrate being held Friday, March 23 at La Encantada. Festivities start at 6 p.m. – enjoy live music, fantastic food and drink, and help move research closer to a cure.

Purchase tickets at www.celebratejdrf.com or call (520) 203-8084.

Teen honors roots and community with traditional dance and generous donation

The gift of dance became a gift to the Tucson community recently when a local teen selflessly donated proceeds from a time-honored, traditional Indian dance to benefit breast cancer care at TMC.

University High School student, Naina Bhamidipati, honored her passion for her community and her Eastern Indian heritage by raising $5,000 for the TMC Foundation to support breast cancer prevention, treatment and care for women in need.

“I chose to donate to the Women’s Cancer fund at TMC in honor of the people close to me who have been effected by breast cancer,” Naina said.

Since age 5, Naina has been studying and practicing the classical Indian dance known as Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of Guru Kalashri Asha Gopal.

The origins of Bharatanatyam can be traced back to centuries ago in ancient India as a celebration and representation of spiritual ideas and Hindu religious themes.

Bharatanatyam is recognized the world over for its unique style, featuring complex footwork, flexed knees and bent legs while maintaining a straight torso. The hands move gracefully, making sophisticated and meaningful gestures, and all are performed to traditional music.

“The significance of Bharatanatyam to me is an art form that has taught me how to live my life. It taught me to be focused, balanced, and how to always be in control of my life. I learned how to express myself effectively without saying a word,” said Naina. “But most of all, it taught me to accept myself, be proud of myself, and accept the people around me. It has been and always will be an integral part of my life.”

When the instructor, called “guru”, determines the student has mastered the Bharatanatyam, a special ceremony called Arangetram is held to honor the student’s accomplishment.

“I also wanted to raise awareness for such a widespread disease and help families that were going through a difficult time – it was the best present on my Arangetram day,” Naina said.

With 10 years of intense study behind her, Naina has performed in many dance conventions, productions and gatherings, including the North American Telugu Association’s annual convention in Los Angeles.

She also has a deep appreciation for knowledge and community advocacy. Naina volunteers as a teen attorney with the Pima County Teen Court, and serves on the Dusenberry-River Library Teen Advisory Board. She is also a proud member of the leadership council at Be Free Pima – Pima County Community Prevention Coalition, a substance abuse prevention program.

“Helping my society and constantly exploring how I can make life better for people around me is one of my passions, and community advocacy is the first step to being able to do that,” Naina said. “No matter what cause I advocate for, in the end, I always leave with a new community and a new group of people that I will always support and that will always support me. For me, that’s the thrill of it, and I can’t wait to take part in many future endeavors involving community advocacy.”

Tucson Medical Center is pleased to recognize the accomplishments and generosity of this young woman.

“We are simply overcome by Naina Bhamidipati’s thoughtful gift,” said Erika Grasse, director of development for pediatrics. “The resources will provide mammograms for women (over 40) as well as fund breast cancer treatment and care for women who need it most.”

Thank you, Naina Bhamidipati and congratulations on your Arangetram!

For more information about supporting breast cancer patients, please contact the TMC Foundation at (520) 324-3497.

When should I tell my child about an upcoming surgery?

When should I tell my child about an upcoming surgery. When your child has an upcoming surgery or procedure, telling your child when they arrive at the hospital is generally a bad idea. So when to tell your child? Can it be too soon, too late? Amy Fregonese, child life specialist at TMC for Children, weighs in with some concrete advice on when and why to talk to your child about their surgery.

While talking about an upcoming surgery with your child may feel overwhelming, research has found that providing developmentally-appropriate preparation can help to decrease stress and anxiety before, during and after the experience.

When to tell your child:

Toddlers (1-3 years old)
Tell your child a day or two before. Toddlers are not able to understand the concept of time and may begin to worry if told too soon. It is normal for toddlers to become fussy and have behavioral changes before and after a procedure.

Preschoolers (3-5 years old)
Tell your child 3-5 days before the scheduled surgery. Too much time will allow fears and misconceptions to develop. Your child will be curious and will want to know what to expect.

Elementary school age (6-12 years old) 
Tell your child a week or two in advance. This will allow time to process the information and to develop and ask questions without allowing too much time for fears to develop. Your child needs details before, during and after the procedure.

Adolescents (12-18 years old)
Involve your teen in all aspects of planning for the surgery, including talks with the doctor. Allow teens to discuss and talk freely about their concerns. Allow them to maintain their independence and sense of control. Be supportive and honest.

What should I tell my child:

How much and when to tell your child will depend on age and developmental stage, personality, past health care experiences, and understanding of the illness or condition that is being treated.

You know your child best. Use your knowledge, along with the information you have gathered, to talk openly and honestly with your child. Focus on what your child will experience before and after the surgery. An expected stressor is less stressful than an unexpected stressor. Remember to ask your child what questions he or she has about surgery.

Finally, remember you child, no matter the age relies on cues from you. If you appear calm and confident, your child will be more relaxed.

A tour of the surgery area can help you and your child feel more comfortable and gain a better understanding of how things will proceed.

Amy Fregonese
Child Life Specialist

Surgery Tours

Our child life specialists can help your child understand surgery and what to expect. Pre-surgery and pre-admission tours are available. Most tours are geared for children ages 3 and up, but all ages and siblings are welcome. You can call (520) 324-1154 to set up a tour time that is best for your family.

Amy FregoneseAmy Fregonese, Child Life Specialist, specializes in supporting families as they prepare for and recover from surgery. Amy has been helping children and families at Tucson Medical Center for five years.

 

 

 

 

No more blood pressure pills, less pain after weight loss surgery

KelleeKellee Smith didn’t have a history of struggling with weight. She still has the size 2 gown she wore in a Miss Maryland pageant when she was 110 pounds.

But the weight started creeping on after a drunk driver in a large pickup truck slammed into her small car five years ago, shattering her shoulder, detaching her knee cap, severing the tendons in her leg and leaving her with a traumatic brain injury. It took two surgeries and about 18 months of rehabilitative therapy to start rebuilding her life.

She gained weight, in part from the reduced activity, in part as a side effect from the medications she was taking and in part as a result of turning to food as a comfort from the pain and physical limitations.

When her blood pressure medication would no longer control her blood pressure, though, she knew she had to make a change.

“I just wanted to be healthier. I didn’t want to worry about having a cardiac event or having to take more and more medication,” said Smith, a 45-year-old teacher.

Smith had gastric sleeve surgery in summer 2017.

One of the important tools for Smith was a food journal. Surprised to see how much soda she had been drinking, she switched to flavored seltzer water and eventually just switched to water.

Other changes: She adds a low-carb protein shake to iced coffee, giving her the creaminess of a frappucino without the extra sugar and calories. She turns sandwiches into lettuce wraps to eliminate the bread. She’s made spaghetti out of zucchini strings.

“I’m just a lot more conscious about labels and what I’m eating now,” she said. “I can still have the treats that I want, but I just look for ways to make them a healthier alternative.”

Smith said her surgeon told her not to be surprised if it was hard to make some of the transitions in the beginning, and at one point might wonder why she had decided to do it in the first place.

“I have not once asked why I did this,” Smith said. “I had tried diets and even diet medications. I had gone to gyms. I even had a personal trainer. Nothing was helping me lose the weight and I had really just resigned myself that this was how life was going to be for the rest of my life.”

Instead, six months in, Smith has lost 55 pounds in a safe, steady way. Initially at a size 18/20 pants, she bought herself a pair of size 12 jeans over the Christmas holidays. She’s doing strengthening classes at the gym. Between that conditioning and carrying less weight, she’s experiencing less pain and her balance is steadier than it had been in years.

Importantly, in October, she stopped taking blood pressure medication altogether because she no longer has hypertension.

And she’s strongly considering entering a pageant in fall 2018 to share her accomplishments.

“Weight loss surgery isn’t an easy way out or a cure all, but it is a tool,” Smith said. “Every day, it’s a new commitment. Every day, I choose if I’m going to live an active life and make healthy choices.”

March 17 Be Safe Saturday goes green; last chance to catch Choo-Choo Soul gives final appearance

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the 14th Be Safe Saturday goes shamrock green, March 17, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., on the TMC campus, parking lot #11.

This free safety fair, which draws more than 13,000 people, helps parents and guardians create the safest environment for their children. Families get free bike helmets and booster seats, and can visit roughly 100 interactive booths that provide education and resources to help improve safety. Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will offer car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon to make sure they are properly installed.

With the event falling on St. Patrick’s Day, everywhere you look you’ll see shamrocks and lots of happy, smiling faces. If you haven’t seen Disney’s Choo Choo Soul now’s the time as 2018 marks Genevieve’s final TMC appearance. And don’t forget to stop by the Exit Booth and enter in the drawings for a bike or scooter.

“TMC continues to keep children and families safe throughout Southern Arizona. We began our promise to keep kids safe more than 30 years ago,” said Hope Thomas, director of community programs at TMC. “Whether you need a bike helmet, a booster seat, toddler car seat or swim lessons, TMC has always been here to provide education and life-saving products. As Tucson’s community hospital we fulfill our mission daily by providing exceptional health care with compassion.”

In new book, TMC Hospice physician explores the human journey of navigating life’s losses

For those who’ve had therapy to deal with loss, Dr. Larry Lincoln’s new book “Reclaiming Banished Voices: Stories on the Road to Compassion” will resonate about what it means to suffer loss and how to successfully navigate through it.

For those considering therapy or trying to resolve their own grief, Dr. Lincoln’s book offers insight into the power of coming to terms with our losses – even those we might not fully recall or realize their impact. Dr. Lincoln’s writing is accessible to the lay person, yet grounded in his decades of clinical experience as a physician as well as his time spent training and traveling with death and grief pioneer Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Dr. Lincoln, the medical director of TMC Hospice for more than 25 years, also has had a successful clinical infectious disease practice. A graduate of Amherst College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he and his wife, Anne, offered their Growth and Transition Workshop program for 31 years, after initially training under Kübler-Ross. The couple has two children and three grandchildren.

All of these roles — physician, workshop leader, Kübler-Ross devotee, husband, father, grandfather — come into play in this book. Part memoir, part self-help, Reclaiming Banished Voices explores what happens when one is denied his “birthright,” as Dr. Lincoln explains, “to use the tools we are born with to process life’s inevitable losses.”

Unexpressed grief has a way of getting out. People who’ve experienced major losses especially as children, such as the death of a parent or living through abuse or neglect, are at higher risk for depression, addiction, failed relationships and other negative consequences from early pain – what many would see as manifestations of unresolved grief. But Dr. Lincoln shows that any loss, if not adequately grieved, can still impact a person long after the loss has faded.

In the book, Dr. Lincoln examines his own life, and how, although he found himself living his dream — a successful medical practice, married to the woman of his dreams and father to two beautiful children — he was facing burnout, while beginning to dread and resent his unpredictable workload. He would shut down to the people who loved him and waste precious emotional energy maintaining the mask of calm competency.

He shares his own story, in part, so people can trust him and the process he uses. “It’s not just an intellectual read, but shows how one processes grief,” he said. “I tried to speak to multiple levels, including our unconscious.”

Writing the book wasn’t easy. He had written about half and then tossed it out. “It was too academic. It was not me,” he said. He started over – a few times – before he finally found the voice he wanted. And it’s a very personal voice – one that doesn’t shy away from showing his own shortcomings and struggles. It took him about four years to write the book, he said, including an entire year when he had writer’s block and didn’t write a thing.

For each chapter, he’d have to go through five or six re-writes of the first five or six pages before being able to proceed. “Once I learned that that’s how it was going to be, I was OK with it,” he said, adding that he settled on a format where each chapter could tell its own story as well as add to the coherent message of compassion.

For his own story of transformation, his first breakthrough came in 1984 when he attended a five-day residential program with Kübler-Ross, the Swiss psychiatrist whose 1969 book “On Death and Dying” was foundational in creating the modern hospice movement. It was there that Dr. Lincoln discovered how a long-forgotten incident when he was 5 years old had instilled in him a drive to succeed to such an extent that it was consuming his life.

“I began to recognize how what seemed to be an unrelated and barely remembered childhood event was impacting my life as a physician, partner and father.”

Dr. Lincoln eventually went on to train and work with Kübler-Ross, traveling internationally and conducting “Life, Death, and Transition” workshops, where participants would externalize buried grief in an effort towards better self-awareness, forgiveness and healing.

Dr. Lincoln explains in the book how, as humans, we have the “the gift of grief” and how when that gift is taken away, it impacts our ability to confidently navigate the world:

When we grieve, all our emotions come into play. We shake our fist at the universe, rend our clothes in mourning, agonize over fears of future pain, and ultimately face the existential decision to live again. As our compassion for ourselves deepens, we praise our Maker for the exquisite bittersweet wonder that is life. And we dare to open our hearts once again, each time with more wisdom and abandon.

But as children, we give up our birthright rather than risk injury (physical or emotional) or exile. Survival trumps free expression. The price of unexpressed natural emotions is our reactivity and the accumulation of resentments, fear, envy and self-doubt.

Unable to express his fear and anger, a young Larry Lincoln resolved to be stronger, faster, better so that no neighborhood kid would ever hurt him again. Once Dr. Lincoln connected with younger versions of himself, he was better able to attend to his needs and become the man he wants to be.

Dr. Lincoln doesn’t just rely on his own story, though, to share the transformative power of grief work. He is able to draw on decades of experience from his medical practice, including his work with the dying, his work with Kübler-Ross, the workshops he and his wife ran, and the stories of his own family to show the human need to express grief and the gifts that result.

A daily, inner dialog with his younger selves is his way to better understand himself. “It’s a form of meditative inquiry, a form of mindfulness,” he said, adding that there are other ways to get to the same information. Meditation, writing and art are some techniques others use to tap into one’s subconscious needs and desires.

“I continue to learn that emotional and spiritual care is a lifelong commitment. If I don’t tend my garden, the weeds choke out the vegetables,” he said. When he ignores his emotional and spiritual needs, frustration, resentment, irritability and reactivity creep back in.

This grief work is not about assessing blame. He readily admits his parents might have done some things wrong. “But they fiercely loved me and were doing their best”, he said, adding that he can understand and forgive his parents, as well as have compassion – and ask forgiveness – for his own parental shortcomings. “I want people to have compassion for themselves, but also take responsibility for their actions.”

In his book that has been a lifetime in the making, Dr. Lincoln offers us a roadmap from the hard work of grief to a place of understanding and compassion.

“When we listen with our hearts, magic happens.”

Tucson Medical Center director honored with HIMSS Book of the Year award

As a proud supporter of the Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Medical Center is celebrating one of its very own literary talents!

Focused on leadership and management in health care and health information technology, Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed, by Susan Snedaker, MBA, CISM, CPHIMS, CHCIO, this week received the 2018 HIMSS Book of the Year Award.

The book presents a practical guide for developing passionate, engaged and competent leaders to meet the demands of today’s health care IT environment.

Snedaker is an accomplished IT executive and author. She is the director of Infrastructure and Operations and information security officer for Tucson Medical Center, where she oversees IT infrastructure and clinical engineering. Snedaker’s team developed and deployed innovative technology solutions to meet the evolving needs of the organization. Her approach to cross-team collaboration, clinical engagement and technical innovation has created an IT environment that delivers exceptional results. TMC is a HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 hospital and has ranked as a Most Wired hospital every year since 2012.

“I’m extremely pleased to receive the HIMSS Book of the Year Award,” Snedaker said. “This book represents an amalgamation of what I’ve learned through both education and experience, as well as what I’ve gleaned from working with peers, colleagues and mentors.

“I wanted to create an approachable, user-friendly book – with clear, concise and actionable information – that could accelerate leadership development specifically for healthcare IT. To have this book selected as HIMSS Book of the Year is a great honor.”

Gus Venditto, vice president, content development, HIMSS Media said, “Susan Snedaker’s ‘Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed’ provides a concise roadmap for professionals who manage, direct or oversee healthcare information and technology. Her insights provide a valuable perspective for readers, and we congratulate her for this significant milestone as an author.”

TMC and Mayo Clinic collaborate to promote survivorship at Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium

carousel_survivewell_std2018.jpg

For the second year in a row, Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium, designed to help patients find more about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as shared issues facing patients, caregivers and family members.

The broad-based symposium, with a focus this year on celebrating survivorship, will include discussions designed to help participants deal with the stress of these diseases and move forward in a positive direction.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for nearly a decade in the Phoenix area, will take place on Saturday, April 7. Mindful walks will kick off the day at 7:30 a.m., with sessions beginning at 9 a.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a Holocaust survivor, who will share her perspective on embracing the possible. In addition to cancer-specific breakout sessions, TMC, Mayo Clinic and Arizona Oncology experts will also lead other topic discussions including intimacy after cancer, genomics, as well as exercise, diet and inflammation. Celestino Fernandez, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, will close with a session on finding happiness every day.

“Survive Well is a fitting venue to share advancing technologies, leading treatments, and support services,” says Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Mayo Clinic Dermatologist and Deputy Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Arizona. “The symposium is a valued part of our collaborative efforts to provide meaningful information and support to patients with cancer and their families.”

As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families by sharing education and best practices. “This symposium is a continued maturation of the relationship we’ve developed with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

For more information or to save your spot, please visit our website.

Mission Moments: Helping out with a four-legged family member

Ru

Pets are familiar sights at Tucson Medical Center: Our K9 units help keep the hospital safe and our pet therapy teams brighten spirits of patients and staff.

So when Wellness Director Mary Atkinson saw this fun little guy out stretching his legs with his owner along TMC’s walking path, she introduced herself to the pair.

It turns out the dog was waiting in the car for his dog mom to have a procedure done and his dog dad was trying to split his time between checking on his wife and checking on his four-legged family member. As recent arrivals to Tucson, he didn’t want to leave the pet unattended in an unfamiliar home.

Hearing about the predicament, Atkinson offered to keep the terrier mix in the Wellness Department through the day.

He was a perfect gentleman – and looked quite dapper in the Girls on the Run bandana he scored during his sojourn in the new digs.

MaryAtkinson (2)“We were happy to help, and his owner was very grateful that he could focus on his wife’s surgery and know that this other member of his family was safe,” Atkinson said. “It’s always important to us to practice kindness and to be cognizant of ways we can help other people – and especially during stressful times in their lives.”

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

 

 

Bariatric support group helps patient stay on track with a healthy weight

MaryannMaryann Webb was once “fired” from a support group for not losing enough weight.

Never mind that she’d shed 100 pounds from her starting weight of 357 pounds after having gastric bypass surgery. It wasn’t fast enough or significant enough to meet the expectations of the other members of her group. So she quit.

She and a friend left another support group so depressed they went out and got a hot fudge sundae.

Then in January 2017 she found the support group at Tucson Medical Center for those who had weight-loss surgery.

The 74-year-old retired personnel trainer never misses one.

“It’s like getting a booster shot every month,” she said. She likes the positivity of the group and the non-judgmental environment.

Webb had a long struggle with weight. Part of it is genetics – a whole passel of her family is just a little shorter and a little heavier than average. And she comes from a long line of family members who comfort and nurture one another with food. If you went to grandma’s for Saturday supper, you knew you were going home with a dozen of her sugar cookies.

When she moved from the family farm and the physical demands associated with it, and took a desk job, she found herself gaining weight pretty quickly.

“I’d tried them all. The cabbage soup diet. The hormone shots. This was a long time ago, but I even tried that approach where they shock you when they show you a photo of food to try to make you repulsed by it. Nothing worked.”

It got worse when she was hit with a triple whammy: A divorce, a change in jobs and a newly empty nest after her daughter went away to college.

By the time she had surgery – this was back in 1999 – she was 55 and having trouble with her kidney function and she had diabetes. She took off 100 pounds pretty quickly and then years later lost more when she went through an unrelated medical condition.

The weight loss support group is offered monthly and provides an opportunity for patients who have had weight-loss surgery to connect with others who are in different stages of their weight-loss journey. Our mission is to provide a safe, supportive environment for patients to build relationships and get education focused on health and well-being for their lifelong journey.

Last year, she underwent surgery to fix a constriction and a hernia on the original bypass. When her surgeon asked her what she wanted from the surgery, she said she just wanted to eat lettuce again.

Unlike the larger incision from the first surgery, technology allowed a laparoscopic procedure this time around, with much less pain and a faster recovery. She stuck to her surgeon’s diet suggestions like gospel, sure it would help her heal faster. And sure enough, she’s eating lettuce again.

She’s also walking three days a week, doing aerobics three days a week and organizing monthly social events with a group of retired friends (including a tour of Tucson’s ethnic restaurants with strict orders to try something they’d never had before.)

“I feel better than I have in years,” Webb said. “It isn’t like the surgeon gets to wave a magic scalpel and suddenly the weight comes off like magic. It’s a tool. But it’s a tool that makes it easier. Plus, now I know myself better. I understand what I have to do to take care of myself. I know I never want to be that sick again. And I’ve learned over the years that it’s OK to be proud of yourself a little bit.”

And that’s also why her self-care toolbox includes the monthly support group held on the TMC campus for those who have had bariatric surgery at TMC.

Webb said she appreciates sharing her tips with others and learning from experiences others share – not to mention it’s often a tasty experience to boot.

A recent class had a series of taste tests for protein bars (she’s rather partial to Power Crunch salted caramel.) In another class, members shared their recipes for protein shakes and made samples. The class learned about vitamins and supplements in another.

“I can actually say that I’ve been to a lot of support groups over the years,” Webb said. “And this is really a support group.”

For more information about weight loss surgery at TMC attend a FREE weight loss surgery seminar.

Gun Safety – Steps you can take today to protect your children

As I grieve for the families of the victims and survivors of the school shootings that continue to threaten our children’s safety, my thoughts turn to my own little boys. How can I help keep them and their classmates safe? Is there anything we can do? I don’t have the answers to these big questions, but it does make me think about things I can do in my own community to keep our children safer.

As a mom and as a pediatric emergency room nurse I know that it isn’t just school settings that we need to address when it comes to gun awareness and safety. Along with handguns and rifles, we also need to apply safety concerns to pellet and BB guns, and we need to start taking action.

We talked with Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator, who shared the following about what parents can do to help prevent gun incidents with children:

“Did you know about two-thirds of students who used guns in violent acts at school got those guns from their home or at a relative’s house?

The first thing you can do is make sure that if you keep a gun in your home, it is kept unloaded and locked away. Make sure that the ammunition is stored separately from the gun in a locked container and make sure the keys are hidden away, too. If the gun is not in its lock box make sure it’s in your line of sight.

You can pick up gun locks at TMC Family Support Services located next to the Desert Cradle.”

The other thing we must do is talk to the adults in homes where our children spend time ‑ whether it’s with the grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends or a play date – about the status of guns in the home. Don’t make assumptions about whether someone has a gun, or whether it is unloaded and locked away. Don’t assume the children in the house don’t know when the guns are kept – ask.

I know it feels uncomfortable, but what’s worse ‑ a few seconds of discomfort or the unthinkable?

How to ask the parent or guardian of your child’s play date whether there is a gun risk in their house

This would be so much easier if it was commonplace to ask on a first play date, so let’s make it commonplace. Be brave. Ask.

Offer information on the gun status at your house when children come to visit:

“Hey, we’re so excited for Lily to visit. I just want to check that she doesn’t have any food allergies and to assure you that while we have guns in our house they are not loaded and are in a locked gun safe that the kids can’t access. I know that it can be a concern especially given how curious kids are”

Prior to the first play date or if there is a new adult in the home, ask:
“Lucas is looking forward to hanging out with Omar after school today. It feels a little uncomfortable to ask this, but do you have unlocked guns in your house? Kids can be so curious even when we warn them about not messing around with guns.” If there are guns in the house, ask if they are stored unloaded and locked away where kids have no access. Remember to ask if a new adult joins the family or is staying. Whether it is grandpa visiting for an extended time or mom or dad has a new partner.

Uncomfortable asking in person or over the phone? Text 
Sandwich the question in between the usual questions, “Hi Tom, this is Melissa, Jack’s mom. Jack’s really looking forward to coming over after school today. What time should I pick him up? Also, weird question I know, but I’m trying to get in the practice of asking this given recent events. Do you have guns in your house? Just want to check that they’re unloaded and locked away from the ammunition. Thx”

Blame your pediatrician
Or at least deflect the origin of the query to your pediatrician. Our pediatrician asks us at every annual check-up whether there are guns in the house and if they are unloaded and locked away. Say something like, “Our pediatrician suggested that we ask about guns, even BB guns, just to check that they’re unloaded and locked away.”

Don’t assume that girls aren’t curious about guns 
Ask.

Don’t stop asking once your child is old enough to walk home alone or whether you will be at the house or not
Gun accidents happen whether the child is 4 or 13. Children can be impetuous when little and even more so when teens.

Undoubtedly, there is much more to be done, but this…this we can do today.

Melissa

Melissa HodgesMelissa Hodges is a pediatric emergency room RN and mom to two young boys. Melissa has been at Tucson Medical Center for ten years. She is a knitting ninja apprentice, who makes a mean chili and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.

TMC Healing Art Program Photography Exhibit

Steve Dell Sunrise at Mesa Arch

Steve Dell “Sunrise at Mesa Arch” 2010

More than 900 works of art have been donated and installed at Tucson Medical Center as part of the Healing Art Program. Why? Because artwork can make us feel better and speed recovery – and that’s more than a pleasant notion, it’s an evidence-based best practice.

“The donated paintings, drawings and photographs really go a long way in promoting healing and enhancing the patient experience,” said Lauren Rabb, curator of the TMC Healing Art Program.

On March 8 you can view a hand-picked selection of the first exhibit of TMC art outside the hospital at the Temple of Music and Art.

 

“The TMC Healing Art Program helps patients heal in surroundings that inspire, encourage and cheer,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Events like the photography exhibit help us populate the hallways, numerous courtyards and many public spaces throughout the TMC campus with life-enhancing art.”

Bill Steen   “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM”   2007

Bill Steen “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM” 2007

The event features the images of renowned national and local photographers, such as Gregory Cranwell, Steve Dell, B.G. Boyd, Marla Endicott, Larry Hanelin and Niccole Celeste Radhe.

The exhibit also includes the photos of professional photographer Pamela Gresham Knight, who is traveling from Texas to attend the opening in-person.

“I am astonished by the incredible artwork the TMC Healing Art Program has received,” said Knight. “These photos and paintings are what you might normally see in a museum or gallery.” Knight also explained she strongly supports the cause. “I’m honored and humbled to have my photographs be part of providing relief and comfort for patients who are healing.”

Enjoy the rare opportunity to view the artwork at the treasured Temple of Music and Art. The Arizona Theatre Company bar will be open.

TMC Healing Art Photography Exhibit

March 8, 5 – 8 p.m.

Temple of Music and Art Gallery, 330 S. Scott Ave.

FREE to attend (no RSVP needed)

Photographs, 16 x 20 inches or 10 x 20 inches, are available for purchase through May 12. Proceeds support the TMC Healing Art Program

TMC’s Healing Art Program accepts donations of gallery-quality paintings, graphics, photography and sculpture. “You will be truly amazed by the quality of the images presented at the fundraiser,” said Rabb.

To donate artwork, take a TMC artwork tour or for more information visit http://www.tmcaz.com/healing-art-program or call (520) 324-3116.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patient support at TMC Bariatric Center

Bariatric SurgeryRegardless of a person’s background, lifestyle or motivation – weight-loss is challenging. What approach works for one person might not work for another. Patients who choose weight loss surgery have the best outcomes with access to the right information and support. Fulfilling that crucial need is Rachel Deal, the TMC metabolic and bariatric coordinator.

“The TMC Bariatric Center is nationally accredited as a comprehensive center,” said Deal. “We provide education and assistance at every stage, from a patient’s first questions through years after a procedure – a patient is never in this alone.”

Getting started

Patients considering weight-loss procedures have questions about their unique factors and options. With a dizzying amount of information available on the web, it can be difficult to know where to start.

“With a quick phone call or email, we can get you started with information or a consultation with a bariatric specialist,” said Deal. “TMC also offers a monthly seminar on the second Tuesday of every month – It’s a great way to learn more about weight loss surgery in a comfortable and informal setting.”

 Personalized program

Weight loss procedures are often thought of as one particular surgery. In fact, there are many options available to meet the unique health factors, experiences and goals of each patient.

“Bariatric procedures are not a one-size fits all – everything in the program is personalized,” explained Deal. “We work as a team and take the time to make sure each patient has received all the information about their options and health, so they can make the most informed decision.”

Deal said this careful, custom and vital process can take months, but has an important side-effect that supports a successful outcome. “Patients say they feel empowered – the information gives them the control and authority to make an active decision about their health.”

Confident and prepared

Preparing for a medical procedure is not a common experience, and patients can rely on Ms. Deal to provide the support and help to feel confident and prepared.

“We help educate for pre-op and post-op, so patients understand the dos and don’ts and know what to expect,” says Deal. “In addition, we facilitate resources for aftercare, and make exercise, diet and action plans for the first year after surgery.

More than medicine

The TMC Bariatric Center was designed to be a comprehensive program, assisting patients with all aspects that affect weight loss.

“There are many factors that contribute to successful weight loss,” Deal said. “That’s why the TMC program also provides a dietitian, exercise physiologist and psychologist.”

Weight-loss surgery patients also have the opportunity to participate in a monthly support group, and discuss triumphs and challenges with individuals who are having like-experiences.

“We also have insurance specialists available to assist with information about coverage and payment options – we want to leave no stone unturned.”

Success

Deal says the TMC Bariatric Center has combined medical, clinical and professional support with one focus. “Patient success is our goal – we hope to be each patient’s partner here after.”

If new weight loss challenges arise after surgery, Deal explained her role is to help keep patients motivated, determine new plans and provide needed information or referral resources. “Our patient partnerships are meant to last a lifetime – not just for the first or second year after surgery.”

Deal also explained why patient success is so important to her. “It’s amazing to see the bliss and happiness when patients reach their goals – and not all successes involve the scale.”

Success can mean being healthy enough to walk up the stairs unassisted, or being fit enough to comfortable take family on a trip to Disneyland.

“Mostly, I hear patients say they never could have imagined life being this good.

Rachel Deal has a degree in dietetics and nutrition. She has a passion for patient care and has worked in bariatric medicine for several years. When time allows, Ms. Deal enjoys sampling healthy dishes at Tucson’s diverse restaurants and traveling with her husband and young son.

For more information about Tucson Medical Center’s Bariatric Center of Excellence and to sign up for a FREE seminar see our website or call (520) 900-1842 today.

 

 

 

Cold home remedies – What should you try?

Home cold remediesYou’ve got a runny nose, you’re congested, your head aches, your throat throbs and you just feel wiped out. It might ‘just’ be a cold, but that isn’t helping you get through the day. Colds are viral infections so antibiotics are no help (and may even be harmful). What should you do? What about all those natural remedies on the internet? Do they have any merit?

We asked TMCOne nurse practitioner Natalie Olendorf for her feedback on some of the more common home-remedy suggestions:

Zinc lozenges or nasal spray

Some studies show starting zinc lozenges or syrup in the first 24 hours of cold symptoms can shorten the length of the cold, but don’t use them for longer than 3 days as they can cause nausea when taken for longer. Some people have lost their sense of smell permanently from use of the zinc nasal spray, so it isn’t recommended.

Nasal irrigation and neti pots

Neti pots have reached the mainstream – they and nasal saline sprays may help relieve symptoms such as pressure and drainage as well as shorten the life of the cold by flushing out mucus and viruses. It’s important to make sure that you use sterilized or distilled water.

Hot ginger and lemon tea

Yum! This combination is soothing and can help reduce inflammation in the throat. Go ahead and try it. It won’t cure your cold, but it might bring some relief.

Echinacea

Echinacea can be helpful to relieve symptoms, but no strong evidence exists to show that it makes an impact on the length of the cold.

Vitamin C

Who hasn’t been tempted to dose up with vitamin C after being exposed to a snotty kid? High doses of vitamin C are thought to help support the immune system, but only take these for FEWER THAN FIVE DAYS. High doses of any vitamin can be dangerous and too much vitamin C may cause kidney stones. Also, it won’t prevent the cold, but the illness may last fewer days if your immune system is more robust. Most people get enough vitamin C from a good diet.

Essential oils, aromatherapy

There are very limited studies on the use of essential oils. And while some may help improve congestion and drainage, it is important not to use them topically or to ingest them.

Steam vapor

Steam vapor helps to decrease congestion and open up the sinuses, which can provide relief from that headache.

Elderberry

Elderberry, extract Sambucol, may help decrease the sore throat, headache and fatigue of a cold. Talk to your physician about using elderberry extract as it may interact or impact other medications you are taking.

This information is meant as a guide, but should not be used in place of medical advice from your health care provider.

If you’re in need of a same day appointment check out TMCOne

Natalie Olendorf F.N.P. and familyAbout Natalie Olendorf, F.N.P.

I am a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner. I have worked in family medicine and urgent care for the last 8 years. Prior to joining TMCOne I worked as a nurse in a Children’s Hospital in Chicago on a solid organ transplant unit and as an emergency room nurse in a Level 1 trauma center.

I attended University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana where I received by Bachelor’s in Nursing in 2003 and then attended University of Illinois Chicago where I received my Master’s in Nursing in 2009. Currently, I am working same-day care and the Fast Pass program at the TMCOne Wyatt location.

I am married and have a young son and daughter. I enjoy being active and outdoors with my family in my free time.

 

 

Small changes add up to 50 pound weight loss for Lindy

LindyWhen 36-year-old occupational therapist Lindy Schoch decided to do a weight management campaign a year ago, she was feeling kind of blah.

Her energy was down. She was carrying too much weight. And even though she was working out five days a week, her scale wouldn’t budge.

Schoch consulted with a member of the wellness team and registered dietitian Laurie Ledford to come up with a solution.

“I thought I was eating healthy – and I was – but you can eat too much even if it is healthy,” she said. “Decreasing portion control was a big key for me. The important thing is to take small steps instead of trying to do everything at once. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed.”

Over the course of the year, without making drastic changes, Schoch lost 50 pounds, with a goal of another 30 by her spring 2019 wedding.

Here’s what helped:

  • Breakfast: She swapped out her breakfast Greek yogurt for one that has half the sugars and all the protein. She supplements her breakfast with two hard boiled eggs.
  • Lunch: She stopped putting cheese and ranch dressing on her six-inch submarine sandwiches – stuffing them with flavorful vegetables, pickles and pepperoncinis instead – and switched to flatbread instead of sub rolls. Over time, she switched to salads with chicken and avocado, forgoing the sandwich altogether.
  • Snacks: Ledford told her she should eat something in between meals so she wasn’t ravenous for her big meals, since that makes it harder to control portions. She takes an apple or banana for a quick snack in between meals.
  • Drinks: Sodas are rare for her. She usually opts for unsweetened tea. She did have to completely give up coffee. “I actually hate coffee, but I love creamer. I had to give up coffee because I couldn’t have it without half a cup of creamer in it. That helped cut out a bunch of fat and sugar calories.”
  • Sugar: She’s the first to admit she’s a cookie fiend. And she likes chocolate. And while she’s pretty disciplined about steering clear of office goodies, she has learned one important lesson: “If I really want a piece of chocolate, I will have it. When you crave it, have one of that item and have it right away when you first feel like having it. I’ve made the mistake of trying to resist and then later, eating too much of something because I’ve been wanting it all day.”
  • Be patient with yourself. “Six weeks into my 12 week program, I had done all this and I hadn’t lost one pound. Not one. This is where people get discouraged, because they make changes for a certain time and they give up, but your body needs time to adjust to the changes you’re making. By the twelfth week, I had lost 11 pounds and then it just poured off, six pounds every other week.”
  • Let technology help. There are a lot of fitness apps on the market, but Schoch particularly likes My Fitness Pal, a free app that logs her caloric intake and activity levels and helps her stay on track for her long-term weight goal.

“I don’t deprive myself and I’ve found that what I’m doing now is sustainable,” she said. “I feel lighter now. I can run and it’s less taxing. I have more energy and I feel good about the direction I’m heading.”

TMC Wellness offers one-on-one appointments and small group counseling with a registered dietitian or exercise physiologist. 

Pregnancy and the flu vaccine – Protection for you and your baby

Why you should get the flu shot if you're pregnant

Photo by Alex Pasarelu

“Babies can’t be given the flu vaccine until they are six months old, so the vaccine that you receive is for both of you,” explained Erin Sperry Schlueter, M.D. F.A.C.O.G., department chair of TMC OB/GYN.

With pregnant women on the short list of people with an increased risk of developing flu complications, understanding the facts about the flu vaccine is a top priority. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women can get the flu vaccination at any time in their pregnancy, but it is best to get one early in the flu season, October through May.

The vaccine can be given in two ways, a shot or a nasal mist. The mist is not recommended for pregnant women, although it’s safe for women who have just given birth and are breastfeeding.

Protecting yourself from the flu is only half of the benefit; the other half is the protection it gives your baby. The vaccine decreases your risk of getting the flu while you’re pregnant and then keeps your baby protected for the first six months of life. If you do happen to catch the flu after getting the flu shot, it is usually a much more mild sickness.

“The flu shot is critically important for pregnant women because they are at a much higher risk of life-threatening complications from the flu. We also recommend that all immediate caregivers such as partners and grandparents get themselves protected with a flu shot to provide a ‘cocoon’ of immunity around the new baby”, said Dr. Sperry Schlueter.

Don’t get caught by the flu, get your vaccination early. Mild side effects like a sore arm and a low fever for a few days are a minor annoyance when compared to the flu virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on their website about the vaccination and pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_vacpregnant.htm.

If you haven’t already had your flu vaccine, get vaccinated. Even if it is late in the flu season the vaccine can still be beneficial. You can schedule an appointment to get the flu vaccine at the TMCOne Wyatt office by calling (520) 394-6619. A brief registration keeps you on schedule, the central location makes it easy and the friendly professionals provide the quality care your family expects from TMCOne. The flu shot is covered by insurance and only $25 for out of network plans.

 


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461