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Running Smart in the Heat
last updated:
Fri, 7/09/2010 11:39 AM
I have a dear friend of mine that I work with at Methodist and she has Multiple Sclerosis. She is a dedicated runner and trains all year long, running multiple races. We were talking the other day about how she has been feeling tired, sluggish when she trains because of the heat. Some of the ideas we shared that are talked about in Runner's magazine on beating the heat when training are:
  1. Go Early running. Morning is good because it is cool and your body's temperature is lower when you wake in the morning. Evening running after 6pm is an option as well. 
  2. If you cannot workout in the morning or evening, then start your run with shorter times letting your body adapt to the hot temperatures outside. So start with a 15-20 minute run and add 5 to 10 minutes over the next 2 weeks. 
  3. A study was done in New Zealand that researchers found that runners who drank an icy slush drink before a sweltering run lasted an average of 10 minutes longer than runners who gulped a cold drink. 
  4. After running you can place ice cubes in a sponge, place under ballcap or place ice cubes in a bandanna and tie it around your neck so cool water can slowly drop your temperature. Some runners take water and dump over their head to cool their body temperature. 
  5. Lastly you can take a sweat rate test to see if you know how much to drink during a hard summer run. Weigh yourself naked before and after your run. Each pound lost shows approximately 16 ounces of fluid you lost sweating. This will let you know how much fluid you need to drink per hour. So if you dropped 3lbs then you need to make sure you are drinking 48 ounces of fluid per hour.

It is so important to hydrate. Dehydration can change your running performance up to 20% per a study in Britian. Heat illnesses like cramps, heat exhaustion can begin when your core temperature rises only a few degrees above normal. Recognize the red flags your body is giving you. Do not ignore them when running in the heat. Heat cramps, Heat exhaustion, and Heat stroke are dangerous and can be treated if you will listen to your body's warning signs. Good luck with training and run smart in the heat.

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Handling and Expressing Anger
last updated:
Tue, 7/06/2010 10:23 AM

Anger is an emotion that we experience in a variety of situations and sometimes when we least expect it. Learning how to express anger appropriately starts in childhood. However, we have many opportunities along the journey of life to learn how to handle anger.

The Fence
author unknown

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. As each day went by, the number began to gradually dwindle down. He discovered that it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these scars.”

What is said in seconds can take years to heal from. Protect your relationships by using a kinder language such as “I” talk. (“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”) Avoid name calling and put downs. Apologize sincerely if you do make communication blunders. Verbal wounds will heal over time if new behavior and language patterns are developed and practiced. Never quit trying to treat others better.

If you have difficulty managing your anger, please consider contacting the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Employee Assistance Program at 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

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Brian Long is a Liscensed Professional Counselor with the Methodist Employee Assistance Program. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Counselors are available to you at 901.683.5658.

Fall Prevention Tips for Elderly Patients
last updated:
Mon, 5/24/2010 10:00 AM
As a home health physical therapist, I go in and assess and teach patients and family members how to prevent falls. Each time I make a visit I reinforce these tips:
  1. Use nightlights 
  2. Keep walkways clear especially to bathroom
  3. Have patients wear slippers, shoes, or slipper socks with rubber treads when up walking for greater traction 
  4. Encourage patients to try to get up slowly. Sit for a moment and do ankle pumps to prevent dizziness from blood pressure dropping and promote circulation so when he/she stands the blood pressure does not drop lower 
  5. Use a walker or cane to stabilize your balance for support if there is a problem with unsteadiness. 
  6. Use a temporary bedside commode at night if alone or at risk of falling. 
  7. Some may need to use nighttime incontinence pads to improve confidence and reduce the need to rush to the toilet. 
  8. Use a baby monitor in the bedroom so if a patient calls for help the one assisting can hear easily and provide needed help. 
  9. If the patient is alone always keep a portable phone so if there is emergency or problem he/she has security to reach someone quickly.

Something to keep in mind that if your elderly family member is having falls and not sure why talk with the physician about ruling out a UTI (urinary tract infection).

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Marriage: For Better AND Worse
last updated:
Fri, 4/30/2010 9:03 AM

You may have heard the old joke: Marriage is a three ring circus - engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering.

Based on my latest internet search, let me share some numbers on marriage and divorce:

  • The probability that a man will be married by age 40 is 80%; for a woman, it is 86%.
  • The chance that a first marriage will end in divorce is 45-50%.
  • Of those first marriages ending in divorce, the probability of re-marriage is 75%.
  • Of those who re-marry the probability of another divorce is even higher (67-74%)!

My conclusion: We are apparently "wired" for marriage but our "wiring" is faulty!

As an employee assistance program counselor, this reality is evident in my day-to-day practice. Individuals and couple’s present in various stages of enchantment and disenchantment- the unmarried recovering from the latest disappointment, the married seeking first aid--but all mystified by the absence of that love story that we carry in our heads! Competent in our challenging jobs and capable of multi-tasking with our latest electronic devices, we frequently feel like we’re suffering from a learning disorder when it comes to our love lives.

Counseling is a way to clarify thoughts and feelings regarding the complicated marital relationship. A licensed EAP counselor, as a neutral party, can help you better understand the patterns and dynamics in your marriage, so that once again your marriage can be "for better."

Please give Methodist Employee Assistance Program a call for easily accessible, no cost, confidential assistance.

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Wayne Hyatt has worked for Methodist LeBonheur since 1997 and as a behavioral health clinician, manager and consultant in the Memphis area for over 25 years. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. For more information about how the Methodist Employee Assistance Program can help you, call us at 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

Live Your Best Life: Engaged & Energized
last updated:
Thu, 4/22/2010 9:54 AM

Do you feel like a cast member in “Lost” most of the time? Before you sign up for an audition for “The Biggest Loser”, you might consider getting help, support and insight from a cognitive behavioral therapist.

We’ve heard that “we are what we eat” but do you realize that more importantly, you are what you think? Have you ever stopped to consider what you think about most of the time? Do you dream of more money, success, love, happiness? Maybe you find yourself trapped by thoughts of anger, grief, revenge. Are these thoughts making you happy, energized, or peaceful?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the related field of Positive Psychology can help you think more clearly as you examine and question your automatic negative thoughts, called “ANTS” by psychiatrist Daniel Amen. When you learn techniques to tame your wild mind, you will no longer see each moment as a problem and each person as a threat.

With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques (offered by your Employee Assistance Program counselors), you can learn to become more engaged and energized by your life and its circumstances rather than simply watching your life as a passive on-looker. The glass that was half empty can be seen as filled with your special strengths and abilities. You can learn to incorporate what is unique and wonderful about you in your work, play and relationships. You will be able to grieve your losses and graduate to gratitude.

Having the support of a CBT counselor can help you find your own balance between work and play, love and boundaries, acceptance and growth. As the French author Colette said, “I’ve been having a wonderful life; I wished I’d noticed it sooner.” Why wait to discover ways you can release negativity and learn to live your best life!

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Susan Erdman has been an EAP Counselor at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 1990. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. For more information about an Employee Assistance Program call 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

7 Ways to Prepare for Physical Therapy
last updated:
Thu, 4/08/2010 3:40 PM

Hello. I am Dawn Caldwell, PT. I have worked as a physical therapist for 19 years and work in the homecare environment with my patients. Some people refer to PT as pain and torture but it refers to a physical therapist. There are some things you should know before you are referred to physical therapy. 

If you go to your doctor with a problem and he says, "we are going to try some physical therapy to help you," you need to educate and prepare yourself so you know what to expect. Here are some ways to be ready for that first physical therapy visit:

  1. Ask your doctor what type of therapy you will be doing and what to expect.
  2. If you have a specific problem like a wound, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lymphodema, chronic pain, stroke, orthopaedic problem, then ask the doctor who he recommends because therapists have different training, specialties and certifications. 
  3. Ask your friends if they have had physcial therapy, what their experience was and if they would recommend their physical therapist. You must still be referred by your doctor, but this will give you a name to start with.
  4. Go and visit the facility. When you make your appointment, do it in person and meet the therapist. Look around and see if the facility is clean, see if the therapists give the patients one on one, or if it is like a gym and fitness center.  
  5. Make sure your insurance covers the physical therapy and the clinic where you were referred. See what your out of pocket expense will be. 
  6. Before your appointment for your evaluation, write down your problem in detail.  Therapist are usually good listeners and like facts on your history, medications, sleeping patterns, recent changes in activity, what can you do and don’t do, why are you here for therapy—in addition to the fact that the doctor sent you. 
  7. Think about your goal. What do you want to accomplish? What is the realistic outcome of therapy? Communicate all this with your therapist because it will help establish a plan of care that will meet your needs.

When you arrive for your first physical therapy appointment, wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes for your evaluation and therapy sessions. Relax and talk to your therapist. It is important that you feel comfortable talking to him or her about what is going on. I have talked with patients and found that the reason for the cramps or pain in their legs might be due to not taking their potassium as ordered, that another doctor has ordered a new medicine with pain as a side effect, not sleeping at night. When they saw the doctor this was not addressed.

So, the most important thing you can do is COMMUNICATE with your physical therapist and your doctor so you can get the best treatment for yourself.

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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