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The January Edition | January 10, 2019
Katherine Peters
President & CEO

Message from the President

Greetings friend, and welcome to the January Comfort Connection! 
I was hospitalized from October 25th to Nov 5th, 2018—admitted to SICU with second and third degree burns to 10% of my body; my face, neck, chest and hands. Skin from my leg was grafted onto my right hand and wrist.
I was traumatized to the core. Flashbacks from the fire haunted me. Constant pain was my new companion. Each dressing change brought new trauma as I looked at what would never be smooth, tanned skin.
YET... I was not the most compliant of patients. My patient records may read, “Patient refused” more than once. I want to share with you the questions I asked and the actions I took. Perhaps you or your loved one is or will be in the hospital and you are wondering what you could do. I could either be passive and accept all the hospital had to offer, or I could inform myself as best I could and make some decisions for myself.
Admitted to St. Boniface Emergency at 6 PM, I woke up at Health Science Centre later that evening with a breathing and feeding tube. I was grateful for the sedation, remembering how much pain I had been in. In the morning it was determined I wouldn’t need a breathing tube (my lungs were not damaged), BUT, they couldn’t take it out at 9 AM because my breathing was not where it needed to be, so the breathing machine had kicked in a few times. This was probably because of the sedative. The nurse reassured me I was due for my pain meds at 10 AM so I would be fine.
I screamed inside my head, “WHAT??? You’re going to give me more pain meds which affect my ability to breath on my own... but it's ok because I have a breathing tube??? Are you kidding me???” I motioned I wanted to write. They brought me a clip board and marker. With big letters I wrote, “I don’t want meds.” The nurse was bewildered... I had to explain in writing that the meds were delaying the tube coming out because they were affecting my breathing. Patient Refused. It worked, though. At noon I got that horrible, painful tube removed.
From that point on, I took pain meds only when I couldn’t bear the pain, like after my surgery. However, all during my hospital stay, they kept asking me constantly, “How’s your pain level? Do you want medication?” How many ways do I have to say NO? 
Then I was brought some Heparin. “What’s this for?” “It’s to thin your blood so you don’t get blood clots. Because you are laying down all the time, you are at risk.” “Well – GET ME UP – please.” In ICU, I was hooked up to too much equipment, so it was too much work to let me walk. But I was allowed to get up, walk in place, stretch, and sit in a chair. I did all I could to move. I didn’t want the Heparin. Every morning they still brought it to me, “Here’s your Heparin.” Firstly, it’s not "mine." Secondly, did you see me walking and working out in the hallway earlier today? Patient Refused.  Getting out of bed was like a miracle drug :) I felt so much better after walking and stretching.
When I first woke up after admission, one of the first things I wrote with my big marker was, “Don’t feed me hospital food.” Patient Refused. My family knew how important that was to me. They brought me smoothies, fish, boiled eggs, curried chickpeas... I did accept whole food from the hospital even though it was not organic. Each meal was a large mound of peas, broccoli or beans, and salad. I received countless visits per day from the nutrition team. It was tough convincing them I was getting enough protein. Apparently, the protein in broccoli, kale, and brown rice "doesn’t count" (4.2 grams, 2.9 grams, 5 grams respectively). However, the nutrition sheet they gave me listed ice cream for 2 grams.
The best and most amazing advice I got was from my physiotherapist. He visited me the morning after admission and told me to move my hands. Make a fist, hold, stretch it out, hold. I didn’t know what to do with my hands inside those bandages, but after that, I moved my hands constantly. That is until surgery. After surgery, they bandaged up my right hand with a 3—4 pound splint. This was to keep my hand immobile so the graft would take and my hands wouldn’t curl down. Five days later, the dressing was changed, some staples were removed, but the splint was preserved carefully beside my bed. I was incredulous when they said I would still have to wear the splint. I explained that I could not move my hand and do my exercises with the splint. I couldn’t understand why it was so important to be moving my left hand, but my right hand would be immobilized for more days! They said they didn’t want my hand to curl. Well, what about making a fist and stretching, I asked? The nurse called the doctor, and I had the honour of throwing that splint in the garbage. It landed with a big thud!
I had been ordered blood work every day. The technician came in and wrapped a tight tourniquet around my arm which sent my hand into another whole realm of pain. I can’t even explain how much that hurt. After about 5 days, I asked the nurse to get me the results of my blood work. It was fine; no concerns. My vitals were always good... well then, what the heck? Why am I being subjected to more pain than I am already in? When the technician came in, I just told them I didn’t want my blood taken that day. Patient Refused. It worked. They didn’t take my blood.
I could tell they weren’t used to patients that actively involved in their own care. However, the staff was great and respected my position. They learned to appeal to my logic if they wanted to convince me of something. God bless them. The staff on H5 are truly a godsend.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do your own research. Your health is your own.
All the best in health to you this New Year!

Katherine Peters
President & CEO

Comforts of Home – Care 

Caregiver Bill of Rights

Is self-care something you plan to focus more on in 2019?
Remember that as a caregiver, you have rights, too! Taking care of yourself is an important part of taking care of others. Print out a copy of the Caregiver Bill of Rights and hang it on your wall so that you keep it top of mind, all year long.

Click here to access the Caregiver Bill of Rights

Recipe of the Month: Broccoli, Beet, and Kale Brown Rice Bowls

When you want a meal-in-a-bowl that's quick and easy to make, full of vitamins and minerals, and tastes delicious to boot, make this your go-to recipe!
Try substituting your favourite pesto for the sauce and toss in some extra veggies if desired.

Click here for the recipe

Video: World Record for Oldest Skydiver

Get inspired by this amazing woman!
At 102 years old, Irene has set the world record for the oldest skydiver. And she did it for a good cause, too...

Click here to watch the video now

How David Maintained an Active Social Life at the Hospital

When David started experiencing health problems and had to stay on at the hospital, his daughter was worried that he would suffer from a lack of companionship: she spent much of her time travelling for work and couldn’t always be there for him.
That’s when she contacted Comforts of Home – Care to see if we could help...

Click here to continue reading David's story

Joke of the Month

"Doctor, I think my wife's going deaf. She never answers a single question I ask her."
"Try this," the doctor said, "Stand quite some distance away from her and ask her something. If she doesn't answer, move a little closer and try again. Keep on doing this until she finally answers, so that we can gauge how serious the problem is."
As soon as he got home, the man asked his wife what they were having for supper.
When he didn't hear an answer, he moved forward a couple of feet and asked again. Still no answer.
He kept on repeating this until he was only mere inches away from her face.
Comforts of Home - Care
P: 204.949.3234 | F: 204.949.9049 | E: info@cohcinc.com | W: ComfortsOfHomeCare.ca
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