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Archive for July, 2012

“Something Blue” is Book Three in the Plain City Bridemaids Series.

Just this week, I received my copy of Dianne Christner’s new book, Something Blue, in the mail. The official launch date is August 1, so I always feel a guilty pleasure about reading a book that is not available yet to the rest of the world. I have to thank Dianne for affording me this lovely luxury!

Something Blue follows the story of Megan Weaver, the third member of the “Three Bean Salad” who we were introduced to with her friends Katy Yoder and Lil Landis in Something Old and Something New, the first two books in the Plain City Bridesmaids series.

These stories are lovely romances that invite readers into a world of faith and family and a view of falling in love “the Mennonite way.” Set here in Plain City, the books feature many landmarks recognizable to anyone who has journeyed our highways and back roads (Something Blue even includes the July Fourth parade downtown!). The books also bring to life many characters that Plain City residents will find familiar, even if they were not raised in the Mennonite church.

The stories’ appeal, however, beyond the setting and the interesting lead ladies, lies in the common struggles each young woman faces to find love and happiness–battles that all of us encounter regardless of our faith or background.

Megan Weaver’s struggle is presented in the choice she must make between two men in her life–the new interim pastor of Big Darby Conservative Mennonite Church, Micah Zimmerman, who she has an unsettling past with, or the non-Mennonite missionary pilot, Chance Campbell, who acts as her temporary boss at Char Air, the charity airlines she works for. With Micah, Megan will stay within the bounds of her Mennonite family and church. With Chance, she will fly off on new adventures well beyond the Mennonite world.

I think it is telling that Dianne chooses the names she does for the two men: Micah means “one who is like God,” while Chance definitely is a big chance, a leap into the unknown.

I am happy to now know the stories of all three of Dianne’s Plain City bridesmaids. I can’t wait to see where Dianne’s writing will go from here. Will she stay in Plain City, Ohio, following the characters we have grown to love? Or will she lead us on other magical journeys to places a bit farther from home?

In any case, I’ll be waiting for her next book–no matter where it takes me.

You can read the review I wrote about the second book in the series, Something New HERE.

And “Like” Dianne and The Plain City Bridesmaids series on Facebook HERE.

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Scary, but Preventable and Treatable (if Caught Early). By Kelly Banker, Our Student Who Continues to Think Deep Thoughts.

Since I’m apparently such a “deep-thinking student,” today I’m writing to you about deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as “economy-class syndrome” to those people who like to spend their lives getting angry over the size of airplane seats. (Psst, life is too short to stress about the small things. Like airplane seats).

All joking aside, a DVT happens when a blood clot forms in one of your major veins. This is actually very serious because if the blood clot becomes dislodged, it can travel to the lungs and block blood flow (known as a pulmonary embolism) making it hard to breathe and possibly causing death. Blood clots form more often when you don’t move very much or are confined to a small space. They can happen during or after a long flight, bus, train or car ride, even up to a few weeks later.

We all think that these things will never happen to us, but you might be more at risk than you think. Anyone can get a blood clot if they sit for too long. People at higher risk are those who have had one before, who are over age 50, pregnant, overweight, had surgery in the last 3 months, have cancer or heart failure, or take certain medications like birth control or hormone replacement therapy. Smoking is a huge risk factor and anything that can cause dehydration (alcohol, caffeine, heat) can also raise your risk. The length of travel also plays a role- airplane flights over 8 to 10 hours have a much higher risk than those under 4 hours long.

Maybe you think you will just deal with a blood clot if it happens to you. I’m sorry to tell you that many people don’t show symptoms. You might have pain or swelling in your lower leg or bruising behind the knee, but you might not, especially if it shows up weeks later. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may be shortness of breath, chest pain, or fainting.

You don’t need to worry too much, though, because like many health conditions, blood clots can be prevented.

What you can do to prevent a blood clot while traveling:

  • Drink water before and while you are traveling so you don’t get dehydrated.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol (so you don’t get dehydrated)
  • Wear loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes
  • Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time (if your foot falls asleep, that’s too long)
  • Walk around if you have a lay-over and before you board your flight OR at stops if traveling by bus or car
  • Sleep for 30 minutes at a time only or you won’t be moving your legs enough (you don’t have to wake up ALL the way, just enough to change positions)
  • Take the aisle seat so you can stretch and stand up more easily
  • DO NOT SIT FOR A LONG TIME WITHOUT MOVING. Get up and walk, or do ankle circles and foot lifts

You can find more simple exercises for preventing blood clots here: http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=290

Remember to remind your friends/family/travel companions that they should be concerned about blood clots too. Happy trails!


NOTE from Robin:

Joe and I asked Kelly to write about this subject, because my mom, Roberta, recently had this occur. She had blood clots in both legs that traveled to her lungs and almost killed her. She has been in the hospital this past week and the doctors did emergency surgery to remove clots from her lungs and keep large clots from going to her heart. Luckily, she is going to be okay, but many people are not as fortunate. We even missed the signs, because she was having back problems and we thought the pain in her legs was related to that and sciatic nerve issues. Only when her left leg began to swell and turn black, did we realize a clot was the problem. Mom did not have just one clot, however–she had many, many clots. If three pharmacists (my sister, Bobbie, is also a pharmacist at Dublin Methodist) can misinterpret the signs of blood clots, people outside the medical world can, as well. We want to make sure you do not! Sadly, Ann Murray’s son-in-law lost his life because of a blood clot that traveled to his heart.

The photos below are of my mom’s leg and foot on the first day after she began treatment for the clots and then again two days later. We did not take a photo of her leg as it originally looked–black and swollen to twice its normal size. We were too worried about her at that point. Happily, she is now done with the clot buster therapy and will soon be out of ICU. But she will need to be on a blood thinner for the rest of her life. A small price to pay for surviving something that could have been deadly. All of us who love her are very thankful to the wonderful staff at Dublin Methodist and Riverside (especially Dr. Dean) for saving her life.

10th Annual Classic Car Cruise-In is Saturday, August 4 from 11 am to 5 pm.

It’s time once again for the Annual Plain City Classic Car Cruise-In. When the car show arrives, I always know that we are at the height of summer. I cannot believe that it has been 10 years since the first car show, which in the first year also featured a now defunct jazz festival.

This year’s 10th Annual Cruise-In will take place in uptown Plain City on Main Street (Route 161) between Park Street and North Avenue. The show is once again being sponsored by Bob Chapman Ford. Proceeds benefit the Uptown Plain City Organization (UPCO).

Registration is $10 with registration running from 11 am to 2 pm at 204 West Main Street. Registration fees will be donated to Friends of the Plain City Public Library. You can register in advance until July 28.

There will be tons of awards, including motorcycle awards and specially made awards. The awards ceremony will begin after 4 pm.

Stop by for lots of food, fun, and super cars!

Swimming Illnesses: Part Two of Kelly’s In Depth Look into the Deep and Murky End of the Pool. By Kelly Banker, Our Deep Thinking Student.

For all my fans who have been anxiously waiting, here’s a riveting summary of swimming illnesses, as promised.

Recreational water illnesses

What am I talking about?  Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) include a wide variety of infections like diarrhea (the most common RWI), skin, ear, eye, respiratory, and wound infections. They are caused by bacteria in the water of pools, hot tubs, and water parks. Although these waters are chlorinated, there are certain types of bacteria which are resistant to chlorine and can survive for several days even in a well maintained pool. You could get sick just from swallowing a small amount of pool water. Here are some steps everyone should follow to keep pools clean and swimmers healthy:

  1. Shower before you swim (with soap!) and wash your hands after using the restroom or changing your childrens’ diapers. Bacteria from your body will end up in the pool.
  2. Don’t swallow the pool water. Just don’t.
  3. Don’t swim if you have diarrhea. Even the smallest particles of fecal matter still have higher bacterial counts than normal and could make everyone else sick if introduced to the pool.
  4. If you have young children, take them to the bathroom often and change diapers in the restroom away from the pool to avoid contamination.

Diarrhea caused by pool bacteria can develop up to a week after swimming. If you or your child gets diarrhea, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications will help but cases of persistent diarrhea (lasting for over 2 days) require a visit to your doctor.

For the curious, more information is available from the CDC here: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/

Swimmer’s Itch

Say what?  Maybe you haven’t heard of this one (or maybe it’s called lake itch or duck itch in these parts), but swimmer’s itch occurs commonly in fresh water lakes and ponds around mid to late summer when the weather is hot and sunny. It appears as a red, itchy raised rash beginning within 1-2 hours or as long as two days after swimming in contaminated water. Swimmer’s itch is known medically as cercarial dermatitis and is caused by parasites which normally live on snails or water birds. These parasites are unable to live on humans but may burrow into the skin and die, causing an allergic reaction. Poorly maintained hot tubs have also been known to cause rashes similar to swimmer’s itch.

That sounds gross–how can I avoid getting swimmer’s itch? Don’t swim in areas known to be contaminated with swimmer’s itch or in swampy areas where snails commonly live. Swim away from the shoreline if possible, and don’t stir up the mud around the shore. Don’t swim in areas where birds like to swim and don’t feed water fowl near swimming areas. Rinse off with clean water immediately after swimming and wash your swimsuit often.

I think I have swimmer’s itch! What do I do?  Although the itching is uncomfortable, swimmer’s itch usually goes away by itself. Try to avoid scratching, as you may cause an infection if you break the skin. Over-the-counter products such as hydrocortisone cream can help with the itching, as well as baking soda, Epsom salt, or oatmeal baths. Another easy home remedy for itching is to mix baking soda with water until it forms a paste and apply to the affected areas. Call your doctor if you have a rash lasting more than one week after swimming.

Spark your interest? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swimmers-itch/DS00902

I don’t mean for this information to be used as a scare tactic to keep everyone inside this summer. Swimming is a fun way to keep active during the summer months. Not one of these risks outweighs the benefits of the physical activity of swimming. So get out there and “just keep swimming.” (If you don’t get the reference, then there’s an important Disney movie starring a small orange fish that you should probably watch ASAP.)
-Kelly, the intern


Swimmer’s Ear. By Our Super Pharmacy Student, Kelly Banker.

Dear readers, this is Kelly, the intern, hoping you all are having a fantastic July. As we are trudging through these dog days of summer, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood summers spent at the lake (I grew up in Minnesota, dontcha know). I’m sure plenty of you are spending your summer at the pool, waterpark, lake or river, so I would like to talk to you about some common swimming related illnesses and how to prevent them so you and your family can stay happy and healthy all summer long.

First, I wanted to discuss swimmer’s ear, since this is a condition most people have heard of but might not know what it actually is.  Swimmer’s ear is also called ‘tropical ear’ or (just so I sound educated) ‘acute otitis externa.’ Swimmer’s ear happens when the external ear canal becomes inflamed, usually due to bacterial infection.  It most frequently occurs in children age 7-12 years with common risk factors being high humidity, warm temperature, and swimming (Wow, sounds like Central Ohio!).  Usually this condition only affects one ear and about 10% of people will get Swimmer’s ear at some point in their life.

Symptoms: Ear pain, itching and fullness with or without hearing loss, jaw pain, and discharge

Prevention: Wear ear plugs while swimming or dry your ears afterwards. Use a soft towel to dry your outer ear or a blow-dryer set on low and held a foot away from the ear. Do NOT use cotton swabs or insert other objects into your ear canal, as you could damage the thin skin inside your ear and cause an infection. You may also wish to use an over-the-counter ear drop such as Auro-Dri® or Swim-Ear®, which contain drying agents to help remove excess moisture. It is important to note that these agents should only be used to PREVENT swimmer’s ear. Once you have symptoms, OTC drops will not be helpful in curing the infection and you should see your doctor. You might see recommendations for using a homemade mixture of vinegar and isopropyl alcohol to dry your ears, but some clinicians do not recommend this since it is too drying and can make the situation worse. Personally, I’d stick with OTC drops since I wouldn’t want to go around smelling like vinegar all day.

Treatment: If you or your child develop symptoms of swimmer’s ear, you should see a physician as soon as you are able.  Your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or steroids or antibiotic ear drops and the infection should go away within 2-3 days. If you can’t make it in to see a doctor right away, you can use a warm washcloth held against the ear or acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with the pain.

You can find additional information on Swimmer’s ear here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swimmers-ear/DS00473/

So to recap: Keep your ears dry after swimming with a towel, blow-dryer or OTC ear drop, and visit your doctor if you develop ear pain.  That’s all I have to say for now.  Watch for part 2 on swimming illnesses to be posted soon.