Saturday, March 28, 2009

Skilled Home Health Care... have your considered the possibilities?

I am a new clinical manager for skilled pediatric nursing home health agency. The experience is eye opening.

  • I know how difficult critically ill children can be to take care of in the hospital setting, but unless you experience it first hand, no one can appreciate how difficult it is to care for these same children in the home setting.

At home, there are still monitors with alarms, ventilators, feeding tubes, suction machines, and an enormous amount of supplies, electrical cords, alarms, and equipment to meet the needs of these long term care kids.

The plus side of this is the children who are well cared for at home, stay healthier for longer and respond well to the love and contact of family.

The down side of home care is it is exhausting for parents and invasive too. The steady stream of new nurses and other staff in and out of the family home can be very disruptive to the family privacy and daily routine. It is an emotionally draining experience for the parents even for those excited to bring their child home. It can be added stress to family relationships and to the best marriages.

The trend is to do more care at home because it is less expensive than hospitalization. We will be seeing sicker kids and adults being maintained in the home environment. It may even be someone you know.

If you think your child or family member may qualify for skilled nursing health care at home, talk to your physician to discuss your options. If you are caring for a child or an adult in the home setting, utilize support groups and social services to get the emotional support it takes to cope with this huge responsibility.

Check out for an example of a skilled home health agency. If you need more information, contact me and I will try to help you find what you need. There are many options available, so start researching today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Taking care of the business of your health......

Times are tough right now and maybe spring fever hasn't hit you like it has in years past. Money, the economy, violence,and any number of other things may have gotten in the way of celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Here are a few tips to put life into perspective....

1. Take one day at a time. Sometimes, when you are dealing with a serious illness or caring for a child with a disability, an aging parent, or the death of a loved one the winter of your life may seem as if it will never end. During those times you may need to take life one hour at a time. That is okay.

2. Take time to really notice one beautiful thing each day. It may be a flower poking through the muddy mess left by winter or the sunset or the first spring birds. Make an effort to find something that is striking and enjoy it even for a moment. ( Try to notice more than the bird poop)

3. Smile. Smile at something funny, a happy memory, a sleeping child, a dog and his antics...whatever you can find for just one smile, and then another one and another one. Before you know it you may actually smile for more than a moment. Smiling is contagious and makes you feel better.

4. Choose your worries wisely. Life is short, too short to worry about what might happen. Instead, concentrate on what is happening now. If what is happening is tough, concentrate on getting through just this one thing. Worry about what comes next later.

5. Find a hobby or interest. Having an outside interest, even when things are going south will give your a few minutes everyday to think about something else. Read a chapter a day in a best seller. Write 10 minutes a day about your worries and then toss the page into a the trash along with the fear. Sew, quilt, paint, scrapbook, journal, do crossword puzzles, or any small activity that can take your thoughts away from the problem for just a few minutes a day. consider it a mini vacation.

6. Think spring.... winter only lasts so long and the sun is sure to shine again someday soon, no matter what is going on in your corner of the world. Just take it one day at a time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Check out This blog.....

If you are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained this winter, check out this blog for a few spring ideas. has some great books to check out, and a few craft ideas too. The site belongs to published author, Jewel Sample, and it is really cute. Let me know what you think about the site and some of the great guest bloggers' who have posted some really fun ideas.
And if it is you who needs something to do before it is warm enough for that garden work, grab a copy of DAISY CHAIN by author Mary DeMuth. It is a heart-wrenching story with characters you will love and some you won't. Check this good read and let me know how you like it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stress and protecting your baby

It is a fact that society does not want to believe and most do not want to hear, but as a pediatric critical care nurse I see the facts every day and can tell you that abuse is real.

  • Children are abused by the adults they love and trust. Again in the news, an Indiana baby has been allegedly beaten by the mom's boyfriend.

It is also common for parents who are dealing with the stresses of a poor economy, the serious illness of one of their children, or the loss of a job to take their anger out on a child or spouse.

It is unfair, it is against the law, and no one deserves to be beaten. Here are a few tips to keep anger under control.

  • Count to 10 before saying or doing anything
  • Walk away
  • Remove yourself if you are the brunt of anger from a spouse
  • Protect your children... report suspected abuse
  • Talk to someone if you are angry or over- stressed and caring for your child is too much.
  • Find a friend or family member to help you deal with childcare
  • Seek professional help... there are many resources out there. Don't be afraid to seek help
  • Call a church, hospital, or counseling service from the yellow pages if necessary to get a starting place for finding assistance.

Email me if you need more tips or have a question about what abuse means, what can be done, and prevention plans. Don't let yourself be hurt or don't let yourself hurt your child. There are people who care. Please, help to prevent adult and child abuse today. If we all work together, we can make a difference.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't forget to scroll down for the first chapter of Daisy Chain

Scroll down for the first chapter of Daisy Chain. I am more than half way through and I can tell you it is a great book with rich characters that you will want to read about.

Come find out what is happening in the little town of Defiance, Texas. Meet Jed and Daisy and the rest of the characters in town and read about their trials and failures, their triumphs and tragedies.

The characters will stay with you long after you finish the story. Author Mary DeMuth has again created characters with deep emotions and pain, undying love and heartfelt concern. Check it out and check out her website at Let me know what you think.

Book Review

Title: Comfort from Beyond

Edited By: Evelyn Bence
Forward By: Don Piper

Just a quick mention of a great book that has short one or two page true stories about grief, loss, and inspiration.

There are stories about answers to prayer, comfort at Christmas, angels, reasons for hope, and a number of other inspirational and encouraging topics to ease the pain of grief and loss.

The book is published by Guidepost and I found most of the entries very well written. The book can be purchased through Guidepost, your local bookstore, or online at
Check it out and let me know if you found it helpful.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Position, New Dreams

Exciting things can happen when you least expect them and that is how it is for me.

I will be taking a new position as a clinical manager for an excellent pediatric home health agency which is opening a new office in my area. I will be beginning a new chapter in my life where I will be able to use my writing skills in marketing materials and documentation as well as my nursing skills in assessing and getting these critically ill children home sooner.

We will be providing excellent nursing care for children who require ventilation, tracheotomies, and feeding tubes to survive, and providing it in their home where they can be held, loved, and stimulated by family.

The hours will allow me to be more diligent with my writing schedule and hopefully to be successful in both careers, one as the clinical manager and one as a children's author.

What new and exciting things will happen to you today, tomorrow, and the future? Are you reaching for your dreams? Even in the midst of loss and pain, I know from experience, that you can still dream and succeed. Give it a try. What will your dream today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapter one...The Daisy Chain

Chapter One Defiance, Texas

It had been thirty roller-coaster years since Daisy Marie Chance forced fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper to fall in love with her. He’d obliged her, dizzied at the thought ever since. It had been that long before Jed could walk through the ruins of Crooked Creek Church, a butterfly flitting a prophecy he never could believe, even today. It was Daisy’s singsong words that gave the butterfly its bewitching manner, those same words that strangled him with newfound love. For years, he wished he’d had an Instamatic camera to capture the moment he fell for Daisy, but then entropy would’ve had its way, fading and creasing Daisy’s face until she’d have looked like an overloved newspaper recipe, wrinkled and unreadable.

Thing was, he could always read Daisy's face. Even then. She’d looked at him square in the eyes that day in 1977, in the exact same spot he stood now, and declared, “Your family ain’t normal, Jed.” And because lies came easy to him, he’d thought, of course my family’s normal. Anyone with eyes could see that. Daisy said a lot of words, being a thirteen-year-old girl and all, but these didn’t make much sense.

Thirty years later they did. They screamed the truth through the empty field where the church used to creak in the wind.

For a hesitant moment, enshrined in the ruins of his childhood, Jed was fourteen again. Filled to the brim with testosterone and pestered by an orange and black tormenter and Daisy's oh-so-true words.

"Your family ain't normal, Jed.

"He watched the butterfly loop above the organ, never landing, like it had a thing against church music. Or maybe dust.
He sat on a rickety pew.
“Jed?”He clasped his hands around his ears, hoping Daisy’s words would run away. He hummed "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

She put her nose right in front of his. He felt her breathing, smelled her Juicy Fruit breath. “You in there?”He swatted the air between them, hoping she’d disappear. “Yeah. Quit bothering me.” He looked at his watch. Six fifteen. Time to go.

“But your face.” Daisy sat down a Bible’s throw away.

Jed touched his swollen eye. “Yeah? So? What about it?”

“It looks like it hurts.” Daisy scooted closer. She reached her arm his direction.

He inched away.“The truth, Jed. How’d you get that shiner?”

He watched the butterfly. “I was stupid. Ran my face into a corner.” Thirty seconds had ticked. The watch clicked like a stopwatch, pestering him.

“Faces don’t mess with corners, Jed.”

“Mine did. Chasing Sissy around the house. She said it wasn’t fair because I was bigger. She tied a bandana around my head. I ran after her blind.” Another well-told lie, almost as good as Hap’s stories from the pulpit. Six sixteen. Time to go.

Daisy shook her head. Her long blonde braid whipped back and forth like a tire swing over a swimming hole. She hated bangs, something her mom, Miss Emory, knew, but hacked away at them a few weeks ago anyway, leaving them a crooked mess. Daisy still steamed about it, but her only protest was two yellow clips with smiling daisies pulling the jagged bangs away from her forehead.

“I love you, you know.”

Jed’s face warmed. “Would you quit that please? There’s no room for talk like that.”

“Why not? This is church, right? Aren’t you supposed to say love in church? Besides, you know what street I live on.”

Jed rolled his eyes. “Love Street.”

“That’s right.”
“I don’t see how that makes any difference”
“It makes every difference. It’s destiny, what street you live on.” Daisy turned away from Jed, pulled her braid to her mouth. She bit its stubbled end and groaned like she was gritting teeth. Her angry noise.

The monarch flew in circles in front of Daisy, as if it were trying to lift her mood by dancing on air. It lit upon the pew between the two of them, wings folded up toward the ceiling in prayer.

Daisy bent near the monarch, but the butterfly didn’t flinch. “It means something, sure enough,” she whispered.

“What’s gotten into you? It’s tired, that’s all. And it happened to sit down right there.” Jed pointed his finger at the motionless butterfly.

With one tentative hop, the monarch left the dusty pew for Jed’s dirt-stained fingernail. It seemed to study his face while the sun shone through its papery wings. It flapped once and then flew clear away, out one of the abandoned church’s broken stained glass.

They sat in pew four listening to doves calling each other.

Jed checked his watch. Nearly twenty after.

“It’s a sign. Jed Pepper, you’re going to change the world. You’ve been chosen.”

“You’re frustrating.” Jed stood.

“Am not.”
“Are too.” Jed scatted the air with a wave of his hand, as if doing that would erase the words Daisy spoke, an aerial Etch-a-Sketch.

He walked Crooked Creek Church’s middle aisle backwards, like a sinner unrepentant, while Daisy chattered away. Part of him wanted to leave her behind for good, but another part wanted to listen to her forever and a year. He’d welcome her words to fill the silence of his home.

“Hey Jed?”

“Now what?”

“You be careful.”

“I will.”


“Did anyone ever tell you you’re a pest?”

“Mama does. Every single day. Should I add you to the list?” Her voice got that empty sound whenever she spoke of Miss Emory—a longing for something her mama couldn’t or wouldn’t give her.
He considered his answer.Daisy’s mama scatted her like she was an interrupting fruit fly half the time.He didn’t want to treat her the same. “No, never mind. Forget I said it.”

“I’m a good forgetter.” She smiled.

He couldn’t help but smile in return. “I gotta go.” If he ran, he’d make it.

Daisy stepped out into the aisle, hands on hips. “I’m going to marry you someday. You wait and see.”

Jed rolled his eyes. Girls.

“I’m going to put on a long white dress and you’re going to wear a fine suit. We’re going to tend birds. I can’t live without ‘em.”

A dove shot through an open window, looping frantically through the church, flying crazy-winged out where it came from in a flustering of wings against window pane. For a moment, everything was silent. Dead quiet.

“God’s been here,” Daisy whispered, looking haunted-eyed at Jed.

He looked away

.She tapped him on the shoulder. “And when we’re married, we’re going to have six kids—all girls. Want to know their names?” This time her eyes spelled mischief.

“Not hardly.”

“Petunia, Hollyhock, Primrose, Begonia, Dahlia, and Buttercup.”

Jed leaned against the back pew, eyeing the door of escape. “Sounds more like a garden than a batch of kids.” He knew he should leave, but Daisy held some sort of annoying girl spell over him.

“Very funny.”

“I need to head home.” Jed turned. He untied the back door, hitched closed with baling twine. He’d come in the side way, through a low window, and was going to leave proper this time. Besides, it was the closest way to escape Daisy’s sentences. Next thing, she’d be talking about perfume or how smooth babies’ skin was or going on about the butterfly’s hidden meaning. Anyone knew he wouldn’t change the world. Not today at least. He’d be happy to make it through one day.

Daisy followed him. “You going to leave me here alone? I traipsed all the way from town to come here.”

“It’s not like we don’t meet here every single day. You’ll be fine. How many times have you walked home from here? A thousand? Two?”

“It’s a long walk.”

“For crying out loud, Daisy, this is Defiance, Texas. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Besides, you’ve got God’s eye for protection.”

She looked away, didn’t say a word while seconds ticked away. She took a deep breath, then let it out. “You’ll regret it.” The western sun shone through the church’s broken-out windows brightening the left side of Daisy’s face. She looked almost like an angel, that is, if angels had braided hair and prattled on and on.

“See you later,” he called over his shoulder.

Jed shut the church’s back door, knowing Daisy preferred crawling out of the church like a fugitive. Ever since she read a book about Anne who holed up from Nazis, she’d taken to hiding and sneaking. He tied a rope around the doorknob and a piece of wood sticking out from the doorframe, securing the door.

He faced his world in that moment, let its significance and fury sink into his heart. Would he change the world? Hard to say.
at 8:06 AM

Newsletter coming out this week

If you have not signed up for my newsletter, consider signing up today on the link at the right.

I do not sell or share my email list, but I will be sending a new letter out this week with tips for staying healthy and links to a couple of great new blogs. One of the blogs I will highlight is a food and gardening blog by one of my fellow writers. What better way to get healthy and save money too.

I will also be sending out tips to keep your kids healthy and out of the hospital. This winter we have seen an abundance of kids with respiratory and infectious ailments which have landed them in the hospital. No fun for anyone.

So sign up and be looking for the next newsletter in you email box. I cover health, death, and writing. What a combination, but always something to take away for you and your family.
Check it out and sign up today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another Blog to Check Out

Some of my writer friends and I will be guest blogging at the blog of author Jewel Sample. Her book Flying Hugs and Kisses
is a children's book about siblings and grief and can be found at your local bookstore.

Check out her blog the next couple of weeks for posts on kids health, crafts, recipes, and other interesting things for kids and their parents from some of the best writer's in the business.

It can be found at

Check it out. Let me know what you think.