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Thread: Some odd health ideas I've dealt with as a caregiver

  1. #1

    Some odd health ideas I've dealt with as a caregiver

    Many times, people will tell me to take their loved one outside frequently for some fresh air, even if the patient has no preference for that or even resists it. "He needs fresh air."

    I realize that a century ago clean, cold mountain air was thought to be the best treatment for lung disease, hence the many sanatoria in those days in Switzerland. However I think today that belief has been discredited and additionally ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the number-one cause of skin cancer. As far as I can see, sitting inside is perfectly healthy.

    Then additionally, I've had families very concerned that dad has a ?cooked meal? every day even if he doesn't want one. Last time I checked ?cooked? is not a food group, although most protein rich foods are unpalatable raw. Canned fish might be a good protein source however. And these people are often unaware of the importance of fruits and vegetables. They believed that a good diet means ?cooked meals?.

    Has anyone else come across this type of thing and how do you deal with it?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Actually most wheelchair users are Vitamin D deficient. Medicare often will deny payment for this simple blood test if not written up well by the physician ordering it. At a time I thought I was getting plenty of sunshine outside with my dog or waiting for paratransit I tested as having a severe deficiency that required 6 months of 50,000 IUs every other day. Yes, that requires a prescription. Many doctors consider the US RDA of 400IUs to be way too low and many women I know have doctors tell them to add 2000 IUs a day in two doses to better absorb it all.

    I think many think of cold meals as only high salt lunch meat sandwiches. Crunchy fresh veggies with a lowfat cheese dip and lean proteins or complete legume and rice style protein are needed both for regular bowels and healthy skin as well as building or rebuilding muscles.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    I take prescription 2000 iu of vitamin D a day for deficiency. Weather permitting I spend quite a bit of time outside with my dog as well, I don't allow her outside unsupervised. I've also read and heard that many with chronic health conditions have difficulty absorbing vitamin D from their diet.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

  4. #4
    I would put links in here, but I think the post may then be blocked.

    A great many people are vitamin D deficient and the risk of skin cancer may be greater than the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Fish and vitamin D fortified milk can provide vitamin D, however in theory probably most of us should be taking a vitamin D pill for ideal health.

  5. #5
    Just incidentally, these family member aren't saying "Put Dad in the sun. The doctor recommended it to correct his vitamin D deficiency." They're saying "fresh air". It's perfectly fine if we walk or sit in the shade. So again, I thinks it's been some decades since clean, cold air was believed to cure lung diseases.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liveinaide View Post
    I would put links in here, but I think the post may then be blocked.

    A great many people are vitamin D deficient and the risk of skin cancer may be greater than the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Fish and vitamin D fortified milk can provide vitamin D, however in theory probably most of us should be taking a vitamin D pill for ideal health.
    Non-commercial links are fine. I found out about the rate of D deficiency from a VA study done in Boston. I took that to my physiatrist at Walter Reed. He tested me and he had been my resident in rehab so knew my diet and time outside. When he got the results back he was floored! He planned on testing all his wheeling patients after that. Most people just need 15 minutes of sun exposure to the legs, arms and face which will not normally cause burns leading to cancer. But many wheelers prefer long pants and long sleeves even in summer because they then go back into air conditioning. I ate a lot of salmon, the canned dark red kind, both before and after my SCI because I don't much care for milk. I eat cheese but most dairies do not fortify milk used in cheeses. I was taking a multivitamin at the time with the USA RDA of D in it.

    I agree about the fresh air. Many of us have compromised lung function who are C or T level injuries. There were many days back in Maryland when the local air quality was in the red zone so I'd stay inside until dusk. Sensible balancing of healthy foods and activities help overall health. If your patient is slowly learning to wheel outside and will be out for awhile then yes, use sunscreen as appropriate. I never go on warm weather cruises without sunscreen along. I want the D and a bit of color not the lobster feet I got one day reading on the sunset bar deck off Gran Caymen. I forgot to spray my feet when I flipped off my shoes.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  7. #7
    Did increased sun exposure resolve the vitamin D problem? I understand a great many people are low on vitamin D. I know that as a computer programmer in years past, due to the nature of my work, there were probably weeks when I barely saw the sun and, following my company's dress code, I was all covered up too.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by liveinaide View Post
    Did increased sun exposure resolve the vitamin D problem? I understand a great many people are low on vitamin D. I know that as a computer programmer in years past, due to the nature of my work, there were probably weeks when I barely saw the sun and, following my company's dress code, I was all covered up too.
    Sun exposure helps in more ways than one. Yes, VitD levels increase. Sun exposure outdoors helps to combat depression, too. Becoming depressed post injury is common, especially early on. New research indicates sun exposure assists the brain in producing loads of feel food chemicals. Being outdoors also reinforces there is an entire world outside the four walls seen indoors for so long post injury.

    Being outdoors can help with socialization post injury. One day you have the body you have always had and the next day, it all changes forever. While we adjust to our new normal, the world is also encountering what those in it to do not always see.

    Sue mentioned respiratory issues. I'm plagued with those at least as often as UTIs. For the moment, I've not had a respiratory infection in a month. That is HUGE for me. Ditto for UTIs. I hope this continues and I have a change from the last several years. I seem to be doing better the more I am outdoors. If allergies are an issue for your client, an OTC like Zytec (generic is cheaper!) can keep allergies at bay so he can enjoy being outside.

    Go to the movies with your client. If he enjoys coffee or tea, hit a coffee shop with him. Help him learn to navigate his neighborhood on wheels. Have a picnic in a park or courtyard nearby. As temps increase, get outdoors together in early a.m. before the mercury rises. Learn about his hobbies and interests. Encourage him to resume or adapt to his interests.

    BTW, do the best job you can for this man and keep a good attitude. If for no other reason, you never know who he knows who can help you return to programming. I've referred and made calls on behalf of more than a few persons to assist in obtaining a better position. I'm sure there are others here who have, too. Work for this man, keep a shitty attitude and I can assure you your reputation will precede you in any interview. If you think you have had a hard time finding work in your field, you'll make it more difficult for yourself be doing a poor job.

  9. #9
    If I have a patient who is mentally incompetant, resists going out but his daughter wants me to push him around the neighborhood because she imagines that outdoor air will prevent respiratory illnesses, which isn't true, and I want to respect the patient's wishes I don't think this is a "shitty attitude".

    Where does this come from? Are a few (although by no means all) people reading my posts automatically imagining a negligent, lazy, sullen, angry, hateful caregiver because they themselves are perhaps negligent, lazy, sullen, angry, hateful?

  10. #10
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Now your patient is suddenly mentally incompetant? I'm starting to agree that you're a troll just trying to dig up arguments.

    And I can tell you the people on this forum are far from negligent, lazy, sullen, angry, or hateful. Thats why I stuck around here, I've been on forums where people took the attitude that they spent either all their time hating their disability, or took some sick pride in their disability and talked as if it was a competition to be the most sick. On this forum people are about dealing with the hand they're dealt and getting back to life, enjoying life, and adapting to a new normal. If you keep looking around and seeing people you think are negligent, lazy, sullen, angry, or hateful maybe you need to start looking at yourself. Because I haven't seen a single person acting that way except you and I've read all the threads you've posted so far.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

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