Janet_Crain

Hello!  My name is Janet (Tetzlaff) Crain and I am the Wesley Nurse at Hondo First United Methodist Church. 

 

The Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least-served in their communities by providing health education, health promotion and facilitation of resources. The Wesley Nurse assists individuals and communities to achieve improved health and wellness through self-empowerment and access to health care resource information. The Wesley Nurse program spans 80 sites throughout South Texas and is Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.’s largest geographic outreach program. Learn more at 
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Some of the ongoing programs that available through the Wesley Nurse at Hondo FUMC include 2 exercise programs; Diabetes Education and Supplies Program; Specialty Referral Program; Prescription Assistance Program; and blood pressure and blood glucose screening.  As a Wesley Nurse, I cannot dispense or administer medication; diagnose or treat medical problems; or recommend medical treatments or medications.

I have lived in Cotulla almost all my life, and graduated from Cotulla High School.  I have been a registered nurse since 1975.  I have 3 grown children:  Philip (wife Beth), who is a Department of Public Safety trooper in Frio County; George (wife Samantha), who is a plant supervisor in the oil industry; and Lauren (husband Rud Krisch), who is a physical therapist and clinic supervisor at Air Force Village I in San Antonio.  I have a total of 6 grand-angels, 3 boys and 3 girls, who are the brightest lights in my life.  I can attest to the fact that everything wonderful that has ever been said about being a grandparent is true!

I retired after 30 years from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), where I worked as a Public Health Nurse in LaSalle, Frio, Dimmit, and Zavala Counties.  I also became a certified Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner in 1986, and worked for many years in the DSHS Family Planning and Maternity Clinics.  To start my new career, I became a Wesley Nurse in 2010 at the Cotulla First United Methodist Church, and transferred to Hondo First United Methodist Church in September 2014. 

I am excited about my move to Hondo First United Methodist Church, and look forward to the input of the congregation and community to do my part to better serve the under-served of Medina County.  What a privilege it is to serve God while working in a profession that I love!

The services of the Wesley Nurse are free and available to everyone in the community.  For more information on the Wesley Nurse programs, please call 830-426-5532, or email me at 
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Hearing Loss – What Did You Say?

Hearing loss is a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. People with hearing loss may find it hard to have a conversation with friends and family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms. 

Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 has difficulty hearing. But some people may not want to admit they have trouble hearing. Older people who can’t hear well may become depressed or may withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. Sometimes older people are mistakenly thought to be confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative because they don’t hear well.

Signs of hearing loss:

¨ Have trouble hearing over the telephone

¨ Find it hard to follow conversations when 2 or more people are talking

¨ Often ask people to repeat what they are saying

¨ Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain

¨ Have a problem hearing because of background noise

¨ Think that others seem to mumble

¨ Can’t understand when women and children speak to you

Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noise from lawn mowers, snow blowers, or loud music can damage the inner ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Loud noise also contributes to tinnitus (ringing in the ears). You can prevent most noise-related hearing loss. Protect yourself by turning down the sound on your stereo, television, or headphones; moving away from loud noise; or using earplugs or other ear protection.

Earwax or fluid buildup can block sounds that are carried from the eardrum to the inner ear. If wax blockage is a problem, try using mild treatments, such as mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial ear drops to soften earwax. A punctured ear drum can also cause hearing loss. The eardrum can be damaged by infection, pressure, or putting objects in the ear, including cotton-tipped swabs. See your doctor if you have pain or fluid draining from the ear.   

Viruses and bacteria (including the ear infection otitis media), a heart condition, stroke, brain injury, or a tumor may affect your hearing. Hearing loss can also result from taking certain medications. “Ototoxic” medications damage the inner ear, sometimes permanently. Some ototoxic drugs include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease. Some antibiotics are ototoxic. Even aspirin at some dosages can cause problems. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication

Heredity can cause hearing loss, as well. But not all inherited forms of hearing loss take place at birth. Some forms can show up later in life.

Ways to cope with hearing loss:

¨ Let people know that you have a hearing problem.

¨ Ask people to face you and speak to you more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.

¨ Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.

¨ Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she is said.

¨ Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.

The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek professional advice. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem. Or, your doctor may refer you to other experts, like an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor), or an audiologist (health professional who can identify and measure hearing loss).  Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse.  Hearing aids, special training, certain medicines, and surgery are some of the treatments that can help.

The information for this article was condensed from the National Institute on Aging website:   Visit https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults, pick up the handouts on the health education table, or see me in my office.

 

 Blessings,

Janet Crain 

 

 
 
Alzheimer’s Disease

 

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  Unfortunately, we all have family or friends that have in some way been impacted by this disease.    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related, non-reversible brain disorder that develops over a period of years. Initially, people experience memory loss and confusion, which may be mistaken for the kinds of memory changes that are sometimes associated with normal aging. However, the symptoms of AD gradually lead to behavior and personality changes, a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making and language skills, and problems recognizing family and friends. AD ultimately leads to a severe loss of mental function. These losses are related to the worsening breakdown of the connections between certain neurons in the brain and their eventual death. AD is one of a group of disorders called dementias that are characterized by cognitive and behavioral problems. It is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.

In very few families, people develop AD in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. This is known as “early onset” AD. These individuals have a mutation in one of three different inherited genes that causes the disease to begin at an earlier age. More than 90 percent of AD develops in people older than 65. This form of AD is called “late-onset” AD, and its development and pattern of damage in the brain is similar to that of early-onset AD. The course of this disease varies from person to person, as does the rate of decline. In most people with AD, symptoms first appear after age 65.

We don’t yet completely understand the causes of late-onset AD, but they probably include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Although the risk of developing AD increases with age, AD and dementia symptoms are not a part of normal aging.

Currently there are no medicines that can slow the progression of AD. However, four FDA-approved medications are used to treat AD symptoms. These drugs help individuals carry out the activities of daily living by maintaining thinking, memory, or speaking skills. They can also help with some of the behavioral and personality changes associated with AD. However, they will not stop or reverse AD and appear to help individuals for only a few months to a few years.

Information for this article was taken directly from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/ .  The Alzheimer’s Association website also has a wealth of valuable information:  www.alz.org/

I have provided some very informative handouts on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia on the health education table in the Fellowship Hall.  For more information, pick up the handouts or visit me in my office.

 

 

Prostate Cancer Awareness

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind only skin cancer.  We all have special male family members or friends that have been diagnosed with some kind of medical issue with their prostates.  Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably.  The size of the prostate changes with age.  In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.  Some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly.  In fact, many older men have prostate cancer that has never required treatment, just regular monitoring by their health care providers. 

Prostate cancer does have several identified risk factors—some risk factors can be changed, and some cannot.  But having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease.  Risk factors include:

† Age—Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chances rise rapidly after age 50.  About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.

† Race/ethnicity—Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. 

† Geography—Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean Islands.

† Family history—Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor.  Still, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it. 

† Diet—Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer.  These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables.  Doctors aren’t sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.

Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms.  More advanced prostate cancers sometimes cause symptoms such as:  problems urinating; blood in the urine; pain in the hips, back, chest, or other areas from cancer that has spread to the bones; or weakness or numbness in the legs or feet from cancer pressing on the spinal cord. 

Prostate cancer can often be found early using a simple blood test, but it is not clear if the benefits of testing all men for prostate cancer outweigh the risks, such as finding and treating cancers that probably never would have caused any problems.  Because of this it is important to talk to your health care provider about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening before deciding whether or not to be tested. 
 
Information for this article was sourced from the American Cancer Society website:
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For more information, visit me in my office.

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Planning Your Doctor Visit – August 2017

How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Unfortunately, talking with your doctor isn’t always easy. In the past, the doctor typically took the lead and the patient fo
llowed. Today, a good patient-doctor relationship is a partnership. You and your doctor can work as a team.
 

Creating a basic plan before you go to the doctor can help you make the most of your visit. Talking about your health means sharing information about how you feel. Sometimes it can be hard to remember everything that is bothering you during your doctor visit. Making a list of your symptoms before your visit will help you not forget to tell the doctor anything.  Symptoms can be physical, such as pain, fever, a lump or bump, unexplained weight gain or loss, change in energy level, or having a hard time sleeping. Symptoms can also involve your thoughts and your feelings. For example, you would want to tell your doctor if you are often confused, or if you feel sad a lot.

When you list your symptoms, be specific. Your list should include:

  • what the symptom is
  • when it started
  • what time of day it happens and how long it lasts
  • how often it happens
  • anything that makes it worse or better
  • anything it prevents you from doing.

Your doctor needs to know about ALL the medications you take. It is a good idea to take your medications with you to all your doctor visits.  Medications include:

  • prescription drugs
  • over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs
  • vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements
  • laxatives
  • eye drops

Be sure to let your doctor know if you use any assistive devices, such as a cane, walker, hearing aid, grabber, etc., to help you in your daily activities.  Be prepared to tell your doctor about your everyday habits:  where you live, if you drive or how you get around, what you eat, how you sleep, what activities you enjoy, and if you smoke or drink alcohol.  Be open and honest.  It will help your doctor better understand your medical conditions and figure out the best treatment choices for you. 

Sometimes things happen in life that are sad or stressful.  Your doctor needs to know about any life changes that have occurred since your last visit because they can affect your health.  Also, write down and tell you doctor if you had to go to the emergency room, stay in the hospital, or see a different doctor, such as a specialist, since your last visit.  It may be helpful to bring that doctor’s contact information. 

Planning ahead for your doctor appointment can ensure that you will not forget to ask questions or share important information about your health. 

Information for this article was sourced from the National Institute of Health/Senior Health website 

https://nihseniorhealth.gov/

                                  

For more information, visit me in my office.

 

 
 
 
July 2017 – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

For the 70 million Americans who suffer from insomnia, nighttime can be endless and exhausting.  I’m sure that you have already been told to turn off your electronics, keep your bedroom dark and cool, and avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed—but there are other things that you can try to help you get a better night’s sleep.                                                                                                                                                         

Do

:
  • Maintain a regular time to go to bed and wake up every day. Sleep for a consistent number of hours, but not more.
  • Establish a regular pattern of relaxing behaviors, such as reading, 10 minutes before bedtime.
  • Use your bed for sleeping or relaxing only—for example, don’t bring your laptop to bed with you.
  • Exercise on a regular basis, but not immediately before bedtime.
  • Make sure that your bed is comfortable and offers adequate support for your body.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your sleep problems. You might have an undiagnosed medical problem, such as sleep apnea.
  • Sit down and talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about your medications. There are a number of common medications taken for high blood pressure, asthma, and depression that can contribute to sleepless nights.

Don’t:

  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals or drink large amounts of liquid before bedtime.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t dwell on intense thoughts or feelings before bedtime.
  • Don’t lie awake in bed for long periods. If you are not asleep within 20-30 minutes, get up and read or watch TV until you feel sleepy.
  • Don’t rely on sleeping pills for extended periods. Long term use is ineffective for most insomniacs. 

Here is an eye-opening statistic:  sleep medicines give you just an extra 15 minutes of sleep per night on average—and you may not feel that refreshed the next day.  Sleep medicines have an amnesia effect, where you are still waking up, you just don’t remember it!

Information for this article was sourced from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center website 
  and  the AARP Bulletin dated June 2017, page 18.                   
 
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June 2017 – Staying Hydrated
 

When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling, or just enjoying outdoor activities.  Dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue, loss of coordination, cramps, heat stroke, and decreased athletic performance.   Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles.  If you are well hydrated, the heart does not have to work as hard.  The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn, and exercise intensity and duration.  A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more water than someone who doesn’t. 

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water.  Some medications, such as diuretics, cause the body to lose more fluid.  Thirst is not the best indicator that you need to drink more water—if you get thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to the color of your urine.  Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated.  If the urine is dark, drink more fluids.  

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated.  To prevent dehydration, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 3-8

fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes while exercising.  Sports drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people doing high-intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though the sports drinks tend to be high in added sugars and calories.  It’s healthier to drink water while exercising, and then when you are done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, banana, or a small handful of unsalted nuts.  It I best to avoid fruit juices, sodas, alcoholic drinks, and drinks containing caffeine.  Drinks containing caffeine can act as a diuretic, causing you to lose more fluids. 

Drinking water BEFORE you exercise or go out into the sun is an important first step.  Otherwise, you will be playing catch-up and your heart will be straining.

Information for this article was sourced from the American Heart Association  

www.heart.org

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For more information, view the health display in the Fellowship Hall or visit me in my office.

 

May 2017 – Are You At Risk for Stroke?

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.  A stroke is a “brain attack”.  It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off.  When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die.  When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control, are lost.  How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.  Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

Stroke facts: 

  1. Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke
  2. A stroke happens every 40 seconds
  3. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United
  4. Stroke is the #1 preventable cause of disability—up to 80% of strokes can be prevented!

Preventable risk factors for stroke include: uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol; poor diet; physical inactivity; obesity; smoking; and atrial fibrillation.  To reduce your risk for stroke, follow these 7 suggestions:  manage your blood pressure; eat better; get physically active; lose excess weight; lower your cholesterol; reduce your blood sugar; and don’t smoke. 

Everyone needs to know the symptoms of stroke.  The acronym “
FAST
” is used to help you remember:

F

—Face drooping

A

—Arm weakness

S

—Speech difficulty

T

—Time to call 911

It is critical to get medical attention right away if a stroke is suspected.  Immediate treatment may minimize the long term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.  If the stroke is caused by a blood clot, and 85% of strokes are, there is a medication available that if administered within 3 hours that can dissolve the clot and improve blood flow to the part of the brain being affected.  A significant number of stroke victims don’t get to the hospital in time for the medication to be administered—this is why it is so important to identify a stroke immediately.

Information for this article was sourced from the American Stroke Association/American Heart Association and the National Stroke Association

For more information, view the health display in the Fellowship Hall or visit me in my office.

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April 2017 – Managing the Stress in Your Life
Stress is a part of life, and you can’t always avoid it.  Whether it’s being stuck in
traffic, or other more personal issues, such as juggling work, family, and a multitude of commitments, you can become too stressed out and busy.  You cannot always control situations that cause stress, but you can control how you respond to it.  You need to set time aside to unwind or your mental and physical health can suffer.

Physical symptoms of stress include:   fast heartbeat, headache, stiff neck and/or tight shoulders, back pain, fast breathing, sweating, and upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.  Emotional symptoms of stress include feeling:   cranky, angry, frustrated, jumpy, tired, hard to focus, excessive worry, and imagining that bad things are happening or about to happen. 

The first step of managing your stress is determining what is causing your stress and knowing your own coping strategies.  After you figure out what is causing your stress, try making some changes in your life that will help you avoid or cope with stressful situations.  Listed below are some ideas to help:

† 
Manage your time
—Time management is a way to find time for more of the things that you want and need to do.  It helps you decide which things are urgent and which can wait.  Finding a balance between personal, work, and family needs will make your life easier, less stressful and more meaningful.
† 
Exercise
—working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind.  At the very least, you should get 30 minutes of activity 3-5 times each week. Relax your muscles by stretching, enjoying a massage, or taking a hot bath or shower.
† 
Deep breathing
—stopping and taking a few deep breaths can take the pressure off you right away.  For optimal benefit, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.  Imagine yourself in a relaxing place and slowly take deep breaths in and out for 5-10 minutes at a time.
†
 Eat well
—eating a regular, well-balanced diet will help you feel better in general and may help control your moods.  Your meals should be full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy.  Limit how much caffeine and alcohol you drink, and don’t smoke. 
†
 Get enough sleep
—Your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.  If your worries are keeping you from sleeping, keep a notepad or your cell phone by your bed to record what you are worried about—to help you let it go while your sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every night and get up around the same time every morning.  Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
† 
Take a break
—You need to plan on some real downtime to give your mind time off from stress.  Look at your life and find small ways you can slow down and chill out.  Try meditation, yoga, prayer, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
† M
ake time for hobbies and/or give back to your community 
—Try to do something every day that makes you feel good—even 15 or 20 minutes will do.  Relaxing hobbies include things like reading, knitting, playing golf, watching a movie, doing puzzles, and playing card and board games.  Volunteering or finding a way to be active in your community can create a support network and give you a break from everyday stress.
† 
Talking about your problems —
to family members, friends, your pastor, your doctor, or a therapist can help lower your stress.  You can also talk to yourself!  But in order for self-talk to help, your need to make sure it is positive and not negative.
† 
Go easy on yourself
—Accept that you cannot do things perfectly no matter how hard you try, and you also cannot control everything in your life.  Remember to laugh—laughter goes a long way towards making you feel relaxed.
† 
Eliminate your triggers
—Figure out what are the biggest causes of stress in your life.  Is it your job, your commute, your schoolwork, or your commitments?  See if you are able to eliminate them from your life, or at least reduce the load. 

If you can’t identify the main causes of your stress, try keeping a stress journal.  Make note of when you become anxious and see if you can determine a pattern, then find ways to remove or lessen those triggers. 

Information for this article was sourced from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 
 websites.  For more information, please visit me in my office.

 

Blessings,

Janet Crain

Janet Crain, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individual and community in achieving improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org

 

Health & Fitness

on Tuesday & Thursday

 in the Fellowship Hall
 
 
 
Walk Aerobics
(active group)
9: 00 am
 
 
Sit-n-Stretch
(low impact)
at 10:00 am
 
 

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