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Your Health Magazine - Fall 2008


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Your Health Magazine, fall 2008 …

Your Health Magazine, fall 2008
Managing editor - Noemi Lopinto

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. Won’t Back Down: An Edmonton woman fights for what’s right AHS-Capital Health’s magazine for living well Fall 2008 FREE Fit to Be Tried How to get in shape the Zen way The Power of Resistance Lifting weights will lift your spirits Goodbye, Couch Potato A reader relates her recipe for success Final The Gift of Issue Giving How and where to volunteer Return undeliverable mail to: Circulation Department, 10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3. Publications Mail Agreement #40020055
  • 2. Contents Fall 2008 37 Features Departments 20 Take the Wheel 4 Capital Comments New licensing laws keep young drivers 6 Health First safer than ever Peanut problems; Smoking and teeth; By PHoEBE DEy Listless with listeria; Fish oil formula; Yoga at your desk; HPV quiz; Events calendar 22 goodbye, Couch Potato A slimmed-down reader stands in one 9 Pound by Pound leg of her old pants Tracy reflects on 12 months of challenging herself to be better By SHAroN gAFkA 10 The Fitness Edge 23 get off the gravy Bloat Strength training will test your mettle A few holiday eating tips so you don’t 12 Ask the Experts tip the scale by 2009 Who has a hernia?; My elderly dad 24 By SALLy JoHNSToN can’t pee; Little pitchers’ big ears; Got macular? ON THE COVER Writer Jeff Gonek and his 24 Cover Story: 14 A Day in the Life grandfather John Heck Fit to Be Tried A male nurse already stands out in a crowd; Lloyd Tapper wants to do more A grandfather and grandson team up to PHoTogrAPH By CurTiS TrENT get fit without getting hurt 17 Foundation Series The Black Gold Health Foundation By JEFF goNEk digs deep 28 Won’t Back Down 42 Frontiers of Medicine A profile of a champion of AHS-Capital The Comprehensive Tissue Centre’s Health’s new Spina Bifida Clinic scope gets bigger By MALCoLM AzANiA 46 By the Numbers 30 Flowers for Vera A Stony Plain couple embodies the best of the volunteer spirit By CAiT WiLLS 37 Sweet Nothings How to protect your kids from candy overload this Halloween By JiM VEENBAAS 20 30 Your Health – AHS-Capital Health’s magazine for living well Fall 2008 3
  • 3. Fall 2008 • Volume 6, No.4 In publisher Ruth Kelly With associate publisher Daska Davis the New executive editor Ronna Bremer Managing editor KEN HUGHES Noémi LoPinto Interim chair of the Alberta Health Services Board copy chief Alberta Health Services’ mission information, innovation and expertise are no Kim Tannas is to build the best health care longer going to be constrained by imaginary delivery system in the world lines on the map. An example of how this can editorial advisors A Mark Dixon, Sandra Huculak work: three years ago, a new pilot project test- Dr. Gerry Predy, Marianne Stewart utumn feels like a time of new begin- ing a new care path for patients needing hip and art director nings for many of us, but this year is knee care began in three health regions in our Charles Burke especially important. Recently, the province. A team of health professionals guided province’s regional boards and boards for cancer, patients from the assessment and pre-surgery graphic designer Rodrigo López Orozco addictions and mental health were replaced with stage through to recovery and rehabilitation production technicians a single governance board that is responsible for much faster. The results, as measured in wait Betty-Lou Smith and Geoff Cwiklewich overseeing the entire health system in Alberta. times, were fantastic: conventionally, it took 145 circulation coordinator Alberta Health Services, as it is now known, is days to get from a referral to the first orthopaedic Amanda Dammann on a mission to provide a patient-focused health consult. Those wait times were cut by 85%, or advertising representative system that is accessible and sustainable for all down to 21 days. Similarly, it took 290 working Alicia Kuzio Albertans. Every citizen of this province deserves days to proceed from the first orthopaedic con- contributing writers equal access to health care services – from acute sult to the operating room. The new project cut Phoebe Dey, Cynthia Dusseault, care, to wellness services, to preventative health that wait time by 87%, or down to 37 days. Malcolm Faust, Katherine Fawcett, initiatives. Whether they live in the far north or We want these kinds of improvements to be Sharon Gafka, Jeff Gonek, Greg Hudson, Sally Johnston, Lindsey Norris, Lisa Ricciotti, south, in an urban or rural setting, every man, the standard of care for all Albertans in many Jacqueline Schimpf, Jim Veenbaas, Cait Wills woman and child must be able to get the care different specialties. It is a model that makes contributing photographers they need when they need it. We act in trust on sense; providing support for the physicians and illustrators 3Ten, Bluefish Studios/Christy, your behalf, and every decision made going for- and simplifying care for patients and provid- Lance Burns, Daniel Chen, ward must place your interests first and foremost. ers alike. This initiative will have clear benefits Dustin Delfs, Caroline Hamel, Rodrigo López Orozco, Kelly Redinger, Since May, we have established a new health all across the province. We will build our sys- Amy Senecal, Curtis Trent leadership team, drawn from expertise across the tem on the foundations in place today, and province, to help guide this new structure. This work together to shorten wait times, to improve Your Health is published by venture team will build on the excellence in health care access to primary care, mental health resources, publishing inc. for ahs-capital health. that already exists in Alberta. It will create the wellness and preventative health initiatives. connections and relationships vital to an inte- We will build on the momentum of research grated, co-ordinated system that will provide fast and leadership cultivated here. We will attract 10259-105 street and consistent access to services for all Albertans. world-class researchers to augment the deliv- edmonton, ab t5J 1e3 tel: 780-990-0839 • fax: 780-425-4921 Unfortunately, this will be the last issue of Your ery of health care, for the benefit of all. We will toll-free: 1-866-227-4276 Health magazine in 2008, but we have big ideas build a health-care system that is efficient, effec- One year subscription: $12.00 (plus GST) for the future, which will be an integral part of our tive and financially sustainable. I invite you to stay Two year subscription: $24.00 (plus GST) provincial approach to promoting wellness. informed and involved as Alberta Health Services E-mail subscription requests and address changes to In conjunction with the Minister of Health, evolves and to use the contact form on our web- Call toll-free 1-866-227-4276 ext. 237 we have begun to fill the remaining board posi- site ( to provide us the information in this publication is not meant to be tions. We have a chief executive officer and a pro- with feedback. Your perspectives are critical and a substitute for professional medical advice. always seek vincial management team which is structured I hope you will share them. Our goal is straight- advice from your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or treatment. around four portfolios: Continuum of Care, forward: to build the best health-care system in printed in canada by transcontinental lgM graphics Planning and Programs, Corporate Services the world. It’s as simple as that. publications agreement #40020055 and Financial Services. The key priority for all of contents copyright 2008 by ahs-capital health. content may not be reprinted or reproduced these groups is to think provincially while pro- Capital Comments is written by Alberta Health without permission from ahs-capital health. viding effective services locally. The sharing of Services - Capital Health.  Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 4. THE HEALTH CARE PRODUCTS & WELLNESS WELLNESS Results SUPERSTORES RENTALS • SERVICE • SALES Matter Senior’s Day! The Last Thursday of Each Month 20% Off Regular Priced Items - Save Up To $200! • Balance and Exercise Products • Sports Medicine Supplies • TENS Supplies Complete • Speciality Shoes & Foot Care Products Home • Physiotherapy Supplies • Hospital Dressing Supplies Medical • Hospital Beds/Luxury Beds Did you know that up to 85 percent • Lift Chairs & Scooters • First Aid Kits of decisions about your diagnosis Equipment and treatment are based on • Wheeled Walkers • Wheelchairs laboratory test results? • Bladder Control Products • Bathroom Safety Aids • Commodes Medications, alcohol, nicotine, • Complete Line of Braces & Supports caffeine, food intake, and exercise can affect the accuracy • Support Stockings of your laboratory results. AADL/WCB/DVA VENDOR Follow these three steps to ensure you are properly prepared for your FREE DELIVERY AVAILABLE next test. North Location Hours: M-W 8:30-6:00pm Th & F 8:30-8:00pm 1 Ask your doctor why the test is necessary, what the test Sat 10:00-5:00pm South Location Hours: results could indicate, and the M-F 8:30-6:00pm potential treatment. Sat 10:00-5:00pm 2 Check with the laboratory facility regarding directions for collecting the sample, and preparing for your test. 3 Go to (public access, health tips) and download the FREE laboratory checklist. NORTH 780 406-3500 780 SOUTH 780 434-3131 780 97 St. & 137 Avenue-Northgate Centre 97 St. & 137 Avenue-Northgate Centre 5405-99 Street 5405-99 Street Complete this document and you’ll be properly prepared. 000.HCS_1-2M_nBL.indd 1 9/2/08 10:12:40 AM 1. Wet your hands. 2. Put soap on your hands. 3. Rub all surfaces of your hands until you have a thick lather. 4. Rinse your hands with water. (780) 435-5452 5. Dry your hands with paper 1-800-265-9351 towels or a hand dryer. As the regulatory body for medical laboratory 6. Turn the tap off with a technologists (MLTs), the Alberta College of paper towel. Medical Laboratory Technologists strives for the highest standards of care, professional conduct and competent service to the public. 000-ABColMed_1-3V_nBL.indd 1 9/2/08 10:25:54 AM 000.CapHealth_1-6H_nBL.indd 1 9/2/08 2:08:27 PM
  • 5. Tips to manage a food allergy • Don’t eat unlabelled food. • Read all ingredient statements. Different brands of the same food can have differ- ent ingredients. The same brand may be safe to consume for one product size but not another. A Tempest in a Peanut • Don’t rely on common sense to determine if foods are safe. Surprise ingredients are everywhere, such as wheat in soy sauce. The article “Edible Enemies” in our summer multiple-food-allergy family. We consulted • Take precautionary warnings seriously, but 2008 issue resulted in an unusual volume of with AHS Nutrition Service Manager Kim know they don’t appear on every food. letters. In the article, pediatric allergist Dr. Brunet about labelling. • Beware of hidden allergens. Potent allergens Stuart Carr was asked if schools should ban “Health Canada and the Canadian Food such as sesame and milk can hide behind the peanuts. “Absolutely not,” he said. “The smell Inspection Agency have jointly identified 10 words “natural flavours” or “spices.” Become doesn’t carry any protein to trigger an allergic food products that are primarily responsible familiar with names of hidden ingredients, reaction. Food allergies need to be respected, for 90 per cent of the adverse food reactions such as “casein” (milk) or “albumin” (egg). but you’re not a time bomb.” in the Canadian population,” she said. “In • Know where the food is made. Seek out Our readers responded passionately. One Canada, manufacturers must label priority products that say they are made in a mom with peanut/tree nut allergies (and a allergens, which includes peanuts, tree nuts, “dedicated peanut-free, nut-free, soy-free son with the same) said the allergist didn’t sesame, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans and or allergy-free facility,” depending on your understand the school environment. “Many shellfish, soy, sulfites and wheat.” Products diet restriction. children have no forethought to the effects of that contain these allergens are declared on their behaviour when they’re eating, causing the label when sold separately. However, cross contamination of utensils, desks, when that food is added as an ingredient platters,” she wrote. A Leduc writer said her of another food, components do not have daughter nearly died of anaphylactic shock to be declared. “For example,” Bunet said, in school two decades ago when her class was “bread may also contain milk and egg. If making peanut butter. “Most people will not have an allergic reaction unless peanut bread crumbs are added to a product, these components don’t have to be declared.” The Just Say AAAAA products are consumed,” she wrote, “but absence of a warning is not a guarantee. there’s no way of knowing, before an incident, Manufacturers currently list ingredients who will have a severe reaction.” on the labels, but these may be reported by a Dr. Carr responds: “Please do not scientific name, such as albumin or lysozyme Doctors aren’t the only ones pressuring smokers misunderstand me. It is critical to treat for egg. Voluntary statements (“Made in a to give up their nasty habit. Albertan dentists are food allergies with the respect they deserve. facility that processes nuts,” for example) are also stepping up efforts to get their patients to butt But it is equally critical not to add to our often included on labels. But the language out. The Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA+C, not to be confused with AADAC, who affected children and their families’ burdens isn’t standard, so statements lack clarity. incidentally also want people to stop smoking) with unproven fears. Avoiding accidental Planned changes to Canada’s labelling are not only concerned with tooth discoloration, ingestion of food allergens remains the best law would ensure that food manufacturers bad breath, and gum disease, but a more serious management strategy for patients with a food use plain language. Instead of listing illness: cancer. Dentists are being encouraged by allergy. The next critical issue is the prompt lactoglobulin, for example, a label would the College to follow the five As, as in: recognition of the symptoms of anaphylaxis simply say “milk.” But the fish, shellfish 1. ASK if patients smoke or chew tobacco. and administration of epinephrine in and crustaceans would still be listed by their 2. ADVISE them about the harmful effects suspected cases. A recent European study common – but not well known – names, to oral health. established the risk for a fatal reaction to be such as escolar and barramundi. 3. ASSESS their willingness to quit. approximately one in a million. My patients Health Canada published proposed 4. ASSIST those wanting to quit by referring take a greater risk driving to my clinic on our amendments in Canada Gazette, in July, them to resources and programs. over-crowded roads.” 2008 to allow for public comment and 5. ARRANGE for followup phone calls and Still another writer challenged that food will take into consideration any comments support as they attempt to quit. labels, contrary to what we printed, are received for three months. Manufacturers No matter what you do for a living, it looks like a confusing, and invited us to come to the will have one year after the final regulations pretty good method for supporting a smoker who grocery store with her as she shopped for her are published in January 2010 to comply. is ready to quit. For more information on that, go to  Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 6. Stretch Your Limits Bend your front leg until you Release tension in your hard-working calf Step one foot behind the muscles with this easy stretch. other, keeping your heel feel the stretch in your calf. flat on the floor. (If this feels Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and Stand facing a wall. Place uncomfortable, shorten the release. your palms at shoulder distance between your front height flat on the wall. and rear legs.) Repeat on the opposite side. Pap quiz Answers on page 8 Capital Health is taking steps to protect young women from the consequences of contracting Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. The publicly funded Alberta HPV Immunization Program is for girls in Grade 5 and 9. The vaccine is licensed for girls and women from nine to 26 years of age. But before you decide whether or not you want it, do you know enough about HPV to answer these questions? 1. HPV is a concern because it can 3. If you or your daughters don’t get HPV lead to: vaccine: a) Penile cancer a) Genital warts are inevitable b) Genital warts b) Cancer is inevitable c) Cervical cancer c) HPV will continue to spread d) All of the above d) None of the above 2. What are the chances of contracting 4. If you provide the HPV vaccine to girls HPV? early, they will: a) Negligible a) Begin experimenting with sex right away Always check with your doctor before b) You probably already have it b) Stop using condoms starting a new exercise program. c) About one in 10 c) Develop autism d) About one in 1,000 d) None of the above A Very Bene-fish-oil Study Fish are already remarkable creatures. They’re November, indicates that giving babies a fat emulsion quiet, make a good first pet, and can breathe under- IV containing fish oil before and after surgery reduces water for remarkable periods of time. Fish oil is also swelling, fever and infection. This is especially good beneficial for human heart and cholesterol for critically ill infants, who benefit from its anti- levels. And, according to research led by Bodil inflammatory effects. Currently, the standard Larsen, an advanced practice dietitian with practice is to use soy bean oil, but Larsen hopes fish AHS-Capital Health’s Regional Nutrition & Food oil will become the new status quo within the next Services, fish oil might also help save your child’s two to three years. This is good for parents and their life. Her research, which won’t be completed until sick children, but not so much for the fish. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 
  • 7. Desk Strain What are you doing for your coffee break? Instead of downing another cuppa, the Alberta Centre for Active Living wants you to get moving. To help, it has launched a new website that guides viewers through a few exercises to counter the harmful effects of a desk job. The first video, the Stretching atYour Desk series, is designed to help counter some of the pun- ishing effects of computer work, such as wrist strain. Mark Your Calendar Or try Yoga atYour Desk for an eight-minute break of serenity in the hectic pace of your day. Each video is AHS-Capital Health offers a variety of workshops less than 10 minutes long. Everything shown is low- impact, so there’s no warm-up required. Do follow and programs to help you improve your health. the site’s guidelines before starting the exercises. Here is what’s on the agenda this fall. For more Visit information, visit Success Over Stress Live Better Every Day Workshops Answers to the This three-week stress management course is A six-week workshop series, to help people HPV Quiz provided by AHS-Capital Health occupational learn how to take care of chronic health therapists from the Community Rehabilitation problems, carry out normal activities and 1.d. All of the above; although the real Program. This course is practical, interactive manage their emotional changes. proven link is to cervical cancer. and fun. Classes are free and held once a For more information or to register, phone There are hundreds of types of week for three weeks. Call 780-413-5779 for 780-401-BOOK (2665). HPV. The vaccine is effective at information on locations or visit stopping the two types of the virus for a schedule and registration. Steady As You Go This program is intended to prevent falls responsible for 70% of all cervical Boosting Your Memory among older adults who are at risk. Two cancer and 90% of genital warts This memory enhancement program is for sessions are offered. For more information, cases. adults, age 50 and over, who are interested in visit To register, call 2.b. About 70% per cent of women will addressing concerns around memory in rela- 780-401-2665. come into contact with HPV dur- tion to normal aging. Classes are held once a ing their lifetime. The virus can week for six weeks. There is a registration fee Diabetes Health Radio Shows stay dormant in the body for up to of $15 per person. For more information, call Diabetes Compass Radio interviews diabetes two years, and sometimes more, 780-735-3490. health experts and people with diabetes. before becoming symptomatic. Listen at 9 a.m. each Saturday morning on 3.d. By taking the vaccine, you are pro- Weight Wise Adult Education AM930 CJCA Radio or visit www.diabetes tected from the most dangerous Learn how to make healthier choices by For more information, call form of HPV, and by practicing safe attending a Weight Wise session. AHS-Capital 780-970-0060. Health offers two, two-and-a-half-hour work- sex your risk of infecting others shops to help you create your own plan or 12 Weeks to Weight Loss and Wellness diminishes even further. support your family in weight management. 12 Weeks to Weight Loss and Wellness is 4.d. Research has shown that fear Register by calling 780-401-BOOK (2665). a non-diet, balanced approach to weight of getting a sexually transmitted loss. Weekly group sessions facilitated by infection does not affect a young Child Safety Seat Inspection Clinics a certified coach, facilitate self-awareness person’s decisions to have sex A guide to choosing and correctly installing a and change. This program is run by Wholly for the first time. However, being child safety seat. Clinics take place in Spruce Hannah! Coaching & Training, a member of immunized for HPV may oblige an Grove, Edmonton, St. Albert, Beaumont, AHS-Capital Health’s Weight Wise Community open familial discussion about sex, Sherwood Park and Leduc. Call your local fire Network. STIs and unwanted pregnancy. hall or Health Centre for an up-to-date sched- or call Claudette Pelletier-Hannah at ule of clinics in Edmonton and area. 780-481-0313.  Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 8. Pound by Pound The New Me T his is my summer in a nutshell: Mon- better at work. My exercise time has become days I go for a gruelling one-hour bike “me” time. On my bike or in the gym, I’m not ride through the river valley. The next stressing about deadlines or worrying about that By Tracy Hyatt day I wake up feeling sore in unmen- maintenance light in my car. Instead I’m tak- PhotograPh by tionable places. Most Wednesdays, I hit the ing in all of my surroundings and concentrating bluefish/Christy Dean treadmill for a 30-minute run. on my breathing. Exercise has renewed my sprit At about the 12-minute mark, my hand is and boosted my self-esteem. Tracy’s transformation hovering over the red stop button, but I elect to The new me shops for groceries with pride, turned out to be from spend the next 18 minutes listening to the voices in my head that tell me to keep on running. filling my biodegradable shopping bag with sea- sonal fruits and vegetables, a complete change the inside out, rather Saturday is my “I’m-having-so-much-fun-this- from the processed foods that stocked my fridge than the outside in doesn’t-feel-like-exercise” day. Recently, I went for my first dip in a swimming pool since Grade and cupboards a year ago. It’s never just a quick jaunt to the grocery store anymore. A typical 10 PE class. I got a stinging sensation up my trip lasts an hour because I spend most of the nose every time I dove into the deep end. Not time reading food labels. I’m shocked at what to mention, I scratched my skin raw later after food manufacturers try to pass off as healthy. A reacting to the chlorinated water. word from the newly wise: stay away from the There are many days when I question why I inside aisles. That’s where the big stores stock am going through with all of this. Being skinny all the processed foods. Circle the perimeter is so overrated, and there are better things I for the fresh goodies and then get out of there. could be obsessing about. Such as how to attract That being said, there are some things that will and keep a man, or how to make the mainte- never change. As I’m writing this column, I’m nance light go off in my Honda. Fortunately, munching away on a bag of zesty tortilla chips. there are more days when I wake up and ask It’s a small bag, though, and today is Wednes- myself why I didn’t start doing this a long time day. I’ll be hitting the gym after work. ago. To answer the latter question, I turn to Joanne McLeod of those annoying Body Break Tracy’s Top Five episodes I used to catch on TV: “Exercise helps Weight Loss Tips me to feel good about myself while doing some- • Some diet programs lump all carbohydrate thing good for my body,” she said. This is what foods together and give them a bad name. regular exercise has done to me. Quoting Joanne But grains, beans, potatoes, rice and pasta McLeod. But it’s true. give you a lot of nutrients and can help pre- I didn’t even come close to dropping 40 vent disease. Don’t ban carbs as a rule; a pounds but I’m confident that I’ll get there. I balanced diet is key to weight loss no longer roll my eyes when someone suggests • Think of pop, iced tea, fruit beverages, sports we spend the evening playing baseball or ten- drinks and slurpees as “liquid candy.” High nis. “Count me in” is my usual reply to my new in sugar and low in nutrients, limit these friends, a more active and energetic set than the drinks to only one cup (250 mL) every once bunch I usually hang out with. Instead of fill- in a while. ing my closet with sandals and sundresses this • Don’t skip breakfast; meal skippers often summer, I bought a new pair of Nikes, a base- overeat later, which may lead weight gain. ball glove and a new tennis racket. I even bought Start and finish your day off right. a mountain bike online from a lady who said • Eating on smaller plates can help you avoid she’d only used it twice. “I just never have the taking large portions just to fill up space, and time to go for a ride,” she wrote in an e-mail also makes smaller portions look bigger, so Tracy’s Stats when I asked why she was getting rid of it. Her you don’t feel restricted. Height: 5 feet 4 inches loss, my gain. • When you’re eating out, ask your server to Starting weight: 186 pounds (Nov. 2007) One of the spinoffs that I never expected is wrap up half of your meal right away. Not Present weight: 171 pounds my improved mental health. Despite all the only will you be watching your portions, you Pounds lost: 15 physical aches and pains, I’ve got more energy won’t have to make tomorrow’s lunch! Goal: To keep going throughout the day. I can concentrate and focus AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 
  • 9. The Power of Resistance You don’t have to be an aspiring Mr. Universe to lift weights, but it might help to be willing to reach for the stars By Cynthia Dusseault | Photograph by Lance Burns STRONG ON FITNESS: Trainer Susan Agrios (right) gives tips to a willing client 10 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 10. Y ou can do it with free weights, resist- ance bands or exercise machines; you can even do it with nothing at all. “You can do some pretty incredible things with just your own body weight,” says Susan Agrios, on your own. No doubt, having an appointment with a buff athlete who can bench-press 300 pounds can be a great motivator. “Ultimately it’s about setting a goal and work- ing towards it until you see a result,” says Agrios. an Edmonton-based fitness trainer and yoga “That’s very empowering, especially for the peo- instructor. ple who started out feeling very nervous.” Also called weightlifting, strength training is all about using increasing amounts of resistance Top Three Weightlifting Myths to build muscle strength. It is ideal for people 1. You’ll look like the Governator. “The amount who can’t attend a regular fitness class, home- of work that goes into that is absolutely incred- bodies who keep odd hours or people who prefer ible,” says Agrios. Professional bodybuilders an activity they can do on their own, anywhere. also work at it full time, so stop worrying. However, technique is very important, especially when you’re first starting out. Get some expert 2. More is better. Train smarter, not harder. advice, and a training program that works for Slowly increase your weights, always allowing you based on your body shape, strengths and your body time to rest and recover. Workouts weaknesses. Using trial and error can result in a of 30 to 60 minutes per session, three times serious injury. “One of the biggest mistakes I’ve a week on non-consecutive days, are all you seen in the gym is people lifting heavy weights need to see results. with improper technique,” says Agrios. “Strength 3. Stretching is for cats. As you build mus- training is all about getting that muscle memory cle, your body starts to lose some flexibility, and that pattern ingrained correctly.” so stretching before and after a workout is When developing routines for her clients, extremely important. Agrios considers their ages, goals, fitness back- grounds, medical conditions, past and present injuries and strength levels. If someone does a Calling the Kettlebells Black great deal of travelling, she develops a program Cast iron kettlebells represent a very old that’s portable. If someone wants to work out at form of resistance training that is once again home, she helps them set up a home gym. Peo- becoming popular in North America. They ple with obesity and related illnesses such as dia- originated in Russia as counterweights for betes, heart conditions or high blood pressure balance scales in the marketplace. Vendors should focus on weight loss before they try to used them to impress each other with their buff up. “There’s a difference between discom- strength. In the late 19th century, kettlebells fort and pain. I am not of the mindset ‘no pain, became the conditioning tools of choice for no gain.’ If there is pain, you stop.” “strongmen” doing the travelling circuit and Free weights are ideal because machines tend in the 1900s, they became the main training to restrict your movements, and many don’t fit tools of the Russian military, a tradition that different people properly. With free weights you continues to this day. can work with your own range of movement Kettlebells are unique because they’re asym- and patterns. We don’t move our muscles in iso- metrical, which makes them unpredictable, lation in our regular daily activities, so instead much like human movement. This explains their of leg extensions, for instance, which only work popularity with martial artists and boxers, who the quadriceps, she recommends clients do are training to react quickly to the unpredic- back squats, which engage a host of muscles in table. But because they’re like nothing you’ve the legs, but also the abdominals, back and pel- ever worked out with before, if you want to vis. You want a whole body workout, designed give them a go, work with a certified kettle- to help you do whatever it is that you do, better. bell trainer. Otherwise, far from looking like a Agrios is quite passionate about the importance strongman, you may end up being carried out of getting expert advice until you’re motivated of the gym by one. and knowledgeable enough to keep working out AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 11
  • 11. Q&A Dr. braD hinz Staff Ophthalmologist, Regional Eye Centre AHS-Capital Health Ask the Experts Macular degeneration; Hernia; Pee problems; Infant hearing photography by Dustin Delfs Question: My mother has macular Other factors that appear to contribute are: degeneration. What are my chances of diet, smoking, high blood pressure and exposure getting it too? to ultraviolet light. We do know that if you have Dr. Brad Hinz, staff ophthalmologist a particular gene (complement factor H) and with AHS-Capital Health’s Regional Eye you smoke, your risk of getting AMD is almost Centre and assistant clinical professor nine times greater than for a non-smoker who in the Department of Ophthalmology has the gene. You are stuck with your genes, but at the University of Alberta, replies: smoking, a major factor in AMD, is within your Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a control. painless disease that blurs the sharp, central vision that is needed for “straight-ahead” activities such Question: I have a lump in my lower as reading and driving. It affects the macula, the abdomen. Could it be a hernia? central part of the retina that allows you to see fine Dr. Ernst Schuster, family physi- detail. It doesn’t usually affect peripheral vision. cian and medical director of primary Sometimes, AMD advances so slowly that people care for AHS-Capital Health, replies: may not notice the gradual vision change. Other A hernia is a weakness or disruption of fibro- times, the disease progresses faster and may lead muscular tissues in the abdominal wall through to a loss of vision in both eyes. AMD is a leading which other structures, such as a part of the cause of vision loss in patients over 60 years and bowel or abdominal fat, can protrude. In most comes in two forms: wet and dry. cases, it’s not painful; it just presents itself as a If you have vision loss from dry AMD in one lump. But it can be serious, because if you can’t eye only, you may not notice any changes in your get the bowel to go back into the abdominal cav- overall vision. You may notice changes in your ity, it can become trapped in there, a condition vision only if AMD affects both eyes. So-called called an incarcerated hernia. This can lead to dry AMD can damage vision slowly. Wet AMD bowel obstruction, requiring immediate surgery. can damage vision quickly. In most cases, there’s no particular event caus- More than 85% of people with AMD have the ing hernia. Most are congenital; people are born dry form. It tends to run in families. Although with them even if they are not evident until later. genetics plays a role, we don’t fully understand Men are nine times likelier to develop a hernia how. If there’s a gene that determines AMD and than women. There are several different types. multiple family members have it, why don’t they An inguinal hernia is the most common in all get the eye disease? A lot of research is focused males, usually felt as a lump above the groin. A on figuring out why some people get it and femoral hernia is more common in females and others don’t. shows as a lump in the groin or crotch. (Such a 12 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 12. Dr. howarD Evans Urologist Royal Alexandra Hospital Dr. Ernst schustEr Kathy PacKforD Medical Director, Primary Care Audiologist AHS-Capital Health Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital lump could also be caused by other things such infection or past catheterization (tube inserted guage skills may be slower to develop. Some as an infection, a tumour or a swollen lymph through the penis to drain the bladder during signs that may indicate hearing loss include: node.) surgery). Treatment includes dilation (gentle • Failure to startle to loud sounds If a lump is painful and raised, you can’t push expanding) of the urethra or surgery to correct • Lack of response to his/her own name or it back, or it made a sudden appearance, seek the problem. familiar voices by six months immediate medical attention. If it’s not painful Your father’s condition could be due to the • Babbling changes into high-pitched scream- and there are no other symptoms, make an bladder itself. An overactive bladder, one that ing or fails to develop into recognizable appointment with your family physician. clenches and gives the sudden, frequent urge to sounds of speech like “ ba-ba, ma-ma” by six pee, can be treated with medicines. But we rule to eight months Question: My 65-year-old father is having out more serious causes, such as bladder cancer, • Inability to locate where a particular sound is trouble peeing. What could be the matter? first. Finally, problems with urination may also coming from Dr. Howard Evans, a urologist at the have neurological causes, stemming from such • Failure to respond to simple commands, such Royal Alexandra Hospital, replies: diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or multi- as “get the ball,” by 12 to 18 months There are a handful of possible causes behind ple sclerosis. Treatment of the underlying disease If you suspect a hearing problem, trust your difficulty peeing, also called urination. These may improve the condition. intuition. Contact your doctor or an audiologist. problems can have their root in the prostate, the Damage to any part of the hearing pathway can urethra, the bladder or the nervous system. Question: How can I tell if my infant is cause a reduction in hearing. The most likely reason for a man of his age hearing properly? Is there a test? The audiologist has a number of tools to eval- would be benign enlargement of the prostrate. Kathy Packford, audiologist at the uate hearing. Hearing tests may be completed in This means his prostate, the cherry-sized gland Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, replies: a soundproof booth where an audiologist will that surrounds his urethra, is bigger than normal Infants respond differently to sounds at differ- observe the child’s reaction to different sounds. and is obstructing the urethra, which is the tube ent ages. Although there’s individual variation Other objective measures used to determine through which urine leaves his body. The condi- among kids, there are some general guidelines. whether an infant is able to hear are: auditory tion makes it harder to urinate or means he has A baby up to three months of age will startle brainstem response (ABR) audiometry and otoa- to urinate more often. We’d typically prescribe when she hears a loud, sudden sound or may coustic emissions (OAEs). Based on testing, an medicine to relax the prostate. If that doesn’t awaken to loud sounds, such as a door slam- audiologist can help the family plan treatment. help, we might try surgery to ease the blockage. ming. A healthy six-month-old will smile when No child is too young to be tested. But we also look for other causes. These might he hears a familiar voice, music or other sounds include cancer of the prostate, which has a vari- and babies will usually begin imitating sounds Ask the Experts is a regular section in which medical and ety of treatments that might include surgery, and babbling by 12 months. Older infants begin other health professionals answer questions on a variety radiation and chemotherapy, depending on the to develop single words between 12 and 18 of health-related topics. for general health advice or stage of the cancer. months and they understand simple phrases. specific concerns,­ please call health Link alberta at Another cause could be small scars inside Children with hearing loss aren’t able to 780-408-LInK (780-408-5465). outside the local calling the urethra, which might be the result of past learn language by listening, so early lan- area,­ phone 1-866-408-LInK. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 13
  • 13. The Man White in By Lisa Ricciotti | PhotograPhy by aMy SENECaL Alberta’s only emergency nurse practitioner stands out wherever he goes 14 Fall 2008
  • 14. “H e’s the guy in the white shirt,” and refer patients. Nurses work under the act as working on airplanes, I realized that I liked people says the receptionist, pointing to well, but are not authorized to diagnose, prescribe more than parts. I went to air cadets and started the emergency area at Edmon- or refer patients to medical personnel. “If I am a teaching kids principles of flight and leadership. ton’s Northeast Community registered nurse, I cannot call a cardiologist and By the time I finished, I really didn’t want to be an Health Centre. That’s all the direction needed to say: I want to refer this patient to your clinic. aircraft mechanic.” find Lloyd Tapper among the bustle of staff mov- With my licence, I can pick up a phone and refer He graduated from St. Clare’s in 1997. He ing purposefully around the ER nursing station. that patient to be seen by that service.” worked as an emergency and general surgery For one thing, he’s not in a brightly coloured top For cases beyond his expertise, he consults with, nurse in Kitimat, B.C., then as an emergency like the other nurses, and he’s not in scrubs and or defers to, attending ER physicians or the appro- room nurse at the University of Alberta Hospital a mask like the doctors. In his crisp white dress priate referral service. “If you go to your family in 1999. Somehow he found time to finish a certi- shirt and black dress pants, Tapper stands out. doctor and your problem is beyond him, he’ll fication program in emergency nursing at Mount He also stands out as the province’s only nurse refer you to a specialist or possibly an emergency Royal College in Calgary and earn his master’s practitioner working in an urban emergency physician. If it’s outside the emergency physician’s degree in nursing at the U of A, while working full department. It’s a position that the 38-year-old area, he may also consult with a specialist. At a time. When Tapper joined the Northeast Com- has held for nearly four years, and from day one time when access to health-care services is limited, munity Health Centre’s emergency department he’s worked to define his role, beginning with a the focus is on matching the client’s concern with in 2004, he had seven years of emergency nursing departure from standard medical garb. the appropriate health-care provider. That’s what experience and training to draw from. “Initially when I introduced the role, I wanted makes me different,” says Tapper. It’s now 8 a.m. – time for the IV therapy clinic, to make sure I had an opportunity to develop it, It’s 7:30 on a Monday morning. Tapper starts a service Tapper adopted as part of his scope of but not based on any traditional nursing or medi- the day with a review of charts left by ER physi- practice. He personally follows every patient in cal models,” says Tapper, “so that the added value cians over the weekend. As he briefs himself, he the clinic to make sure their care is continuous, of the role could be identified as different, but outlines his career path for me. (The man’s a born stable and streamlined. Every Monday he follows working in complete collaboration with the entire multi-tasker.) Originally from Newfoundland, up with the patients who have been receiving health-care team.” a fact no longer detectable in his speech, Tapper intravenous antibiotic treatments over the week- Nurse practitioners, or NPs, are still rela- trained to be an aircraft mechanic, but he couldn’t end. Depending on the results of their blood work tively new. There are only a few hundred in the find a job in his field. In the mid- to late-’90s, and his hands-on medical examination, Tapper entire province, men and women who are step- he noticed men were finding more and more determines whether they can be prescribed oral ping beyond the scope of the traditional nursing employment in non-traditional careers, and, fol- medication. practice and into areas usually limited to doctors. lowing the trend, he decided to enrol in nursing at Since these patients have had to come to the Tapper is authorized by the College and Associa- St. Clare’s School of Nursing in St. John’s. ward three times a day, all weekend for IV anti- tion of Registered Nurses of Alberta through the The seemingly radical career shift had its roots biotics, the change is a welcome relief. So is Health Professions Act to assess, diagnose, treat in an earlier self-discovery. “In the time I was having a scheduled appointment, instead of Fall 2008 15
  • 15. waiting to see an ER doctor who is rushing Brommeland’s shirt pocket, which was exposed as Between patients, Tapper walks over to the men- between critical cases. he bent to put on his shoes. “Have you thought tal health and addictions services clinic, also part Today Tapper has three patients to check up about quitting or cutting back?” he asks. “Because of the Northeast Community Health Centre, to on. Blair Hault, 53, came to the emergency room if you want to, we can help.” make sure counselling sessions have been set up after his leg swelled to three times its normal size Brommeland seems surprised but he listens. for a woman he treated the week before, a victim and Mike McMullan, 44, a paraplegic athlete, He leaves with written instructions on how to ice of domestic abuse. “I’m there for them, right now is suffering from an infection caused by pressure his ankle and a booklet on how to stop smoking or when they’re ready. I don’t judge. If they let me on his legs from his wheelchair. Tapper sees them with information on the tobacco reduction clinic in, I can help.” He recently linked another seri- individually, greeting each with, “Hi, I’m Lloyd. that Tapper developed for the Northeast Com- ously abused victim with social workers for place- It’s very nice to meet you.” He discusses their munity Health Centre a year ago. It’s an example ment in a safe house. “She’s been beaten before,” symptoms thoroughly, gives advice, suggesting of how Tapper tries to go that extra mile. Tapper says. “But it is very difficult for her to an update on tetanus shots for Hault and advis- “An emergency nurse practitioner is not about leave. The violence is rapidly escalating and, if she ing McMullan to try padding his wheelchair and dealing with major trauma situations,” says doesn’t, her life may be at risk.” avoid contact sports in the short term. Both are Tapper. “That’s more the role of emergency phy- Tapper takes the same caring approach wher- now well enough for antibiotic pills, but before sicians with years of specialized training. What I ever he can, using the encounters with his patients passing out prescriptions, Tapper discusses their can offer is health promotion, illness prevention as opportunities to provide referrals to ongo- costs and possible side-effects. “My job is about and continuity of care.” ing care. That’s made easier by the many clinics the little things,” he says. Tapper’s interactions with his patients reflect located within Northeast Community Health Next in line is Brad Brommeland, 42, who is that focus. He gives Shawn Hagen, a young roofer Centre, an innovative model of primary health concerned about numbness in his foot after twist- with a very sore back, instructions on proper icing care services, including a diabetic clinic, a senior’s ing his ankle. Tapper determines that nothing is techniques and a prescription for anti-inflam- clinic, services for new mothers and a children’s broken, recommends ice and ibuprophen and matories, but also advises him to ask his boss for asthma clinic. asks whether Brommeland needs a note to excuse training on proper lifting techniques. Tapper also “He wants to make sure patients don’t fall him from work while he rests. Then Tapper leans suggests Hagen begin wearing a back support: between the cracks,” says Carol Yeomans, an over and plucks a package of cigarettes from “You only get one back. Look after it,” he says. emergency nurse who’s worked with Tapper for the past four years. “He always tries to link them to whatever they need to get them on track, back on the road to wellness and responsibility for their health. He takes the extra time that an emergency physician doesn’t have.” From an emergency physician’s perspective, it’s a big benefit to have a nurse with Tapper’s training around. “He has the knowledge and he’s taken on so much. He can do sutures, IVs, followup calls and paperwork. If he wasn’t here, there’d be quite a void. We could use a couple of people like him at other hospitals,” says Dr. Terry Stetsko. MIND THE LITTLE THINGS: NP Lloyd Tapper It’s now approaching noon, and Tapper has likes to go that extra mile with his patients decided to take lunch since it’s not too busy – by emergency department standards anyways. This afternoon, he’ll see a bit more of everything: sick kids, people with infectious diseases, abdominal pains, breathing problems and maybe this week’s cardiac case. Recently, a mother rushed into the department with a newborn who was near death. After being stabilized in the emergency depart- ment, the child was transported to intensive care at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, eventually making a full recovery. Whatever the day will bring, Tapper feels ready. “Nursing of any kind is a privilege. You have the chance to make an impact on people’s lives. When I see a chance to make a difference, I take it. I really love what I do.” 16 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 16. BACK IN BLACK: (L-R) The Black Gold Health Foundation’s chair Marilyn Janzen, executive director Lorraine Popik, Leduc Community Hospital ER manager and site manager Tod Pharis, Dr. Colin Oberg, and Leduc Community Hospital site manager Donna Grier pose with a portable ultrasound machine Leduc’s GoldBy Jacqueline Schimpf “I t’s one of the items that puts us in the big league and makes us stand out,” says Mari- lyn Janzen, volunteer chair of the Black Gold Health Foundation, about the new, port- able ultrasound machine at the Leduc Com- Standard nity Hospital and health centres and home care in Beaumont, Leduc and Thorsby. Without the need for a technician, the new, portable piece of equipment can be operated by trained physicians in the emergency department munity Hospital. “The ultrasound is a piece of or used at patient’s bedside in acute care. The Black Gold Health equipment that we are so excited about. It makes it much easier for our health care team to provide A welcome addition to the hospital’s after- hours services, the technology allows for early Foundation supports early diagnosis.” or pre-diagnosis, which helps to determine if a health programs, services With financial support from the Black Gold Health Foundation, the hospital, which serves patient requires further testing. “With the ultrasound, we are able to per- and new equipment in the residents of the County of Leduc and area, form services in the emergency department that bustling central Alberta purchased the machine in the spring. The $90,000 portable ultrasound machine comple- can assist in quicker diagnosis; there is no wait- ing for an appointment elsewhere,” says Daryl ments its existing ultrasound services, which are Wishnowski, manager of inpatient services at the available only during daytime hours. The foun- Leduc Community Hospital. “Because we don’t dation is the charitable organization that pro- have ultrasound technicians on duty in the eve- motes and supports health programs and services nings or nights, when a patient comes in at night, in the Leduc area, including the Leduc Commu- we have the ability to do some assessment.” AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 17
  • 17. Foundation Series “The ultrasound has enhanced the services foundation, to those who help us stuff enve- passionate about health care and we invite any- that the local hospital provides in that patients lopes. What they have in common is a passion one else who has a passion to join us.” can stay closer to home for diagnosis,” says Lor- for ensuring and enhancing health-care services The community truly supports the founda- raine Popik, executive director of the Black Gold in our community. No donation of time is too tion and its goals. “Our community is close-knit, Health Foundation. “This reduces the number of small.” which sets us apart from larger cities. In a small patients that have to be transferred to Edmonton, Janzen was motivated to join the foundation town, everyone is your friend and neighbor, and as well as the expenses and patient anxiety that go when, as a nurse, one of the physicians she was we all do our best to help each other. We truly care along with that. Before purchasing this machine, working for was discussing some extra equip- about each other,” says Janzen. And that includes all emergency services of this nature had supporting local health care. to be transferred.” “Volunteers are what we like to Working in partnership with local Leduc is located 15 minutes south of businesses and the community, the Edmonton on the Queen Elizabeth II call our priceless donations,” foundation is dedicated to fulfilling a Highway, along the busy Edmonton- vision of offering the highest quality of Calgary corridor, and has a population Popik says. “They form the health-care services by contributing to of nearly 20,000. The local hospital, backbone of our success.” the enhancement of patient care serv- which combines the best of small-town ices and health programs offered in the friendliness with state-of-the-art medical care, ment needs. With a friend already involved with community. Currently underway is the Comfort was recently renovated, increasing its bed capac- the foundation board and a lifelong passion for and Care Campaign through which the founda- ity from 54 to 70, of which 34 are in acute care. health care, Janzen knew she wanted to be a part tion is raising money to update and redecorate And it has undergone a significant expansion of of the solution. She joined the board in 2006. the hospital’s palliative care room, enhance an its emergency department, to meet the growing “I haven’t regretted a minute,” she says. “Every- additional two rooms and upgrade the patient demands of the region. one who is involved on the foundation board is and visitor lounges. Each year, the hospital sees 26,700 emergency “The big dream is to create an outdoor court- visits, 1,700 day surgeries, 1,500 endoscopies, yard wellness garden with solarium,” says Popik. 6,500 outpatient visits and 2,400 inpatient visits. “If we can enhance that and offer those services to Physical, respiratory and occupational therapy patients – that would be amazing.” provide on-site rehabilitation. The board raises funds through a few key The foundation supports the hospital and events each year, which are widely supported community health centre by raising funds to by the community. The second annual Art and enhance local health care and support new tech- Entertainment Charity Affair held in March nology, specialized equipment and innovative raised $15,000, and this year’s 16th annual Black programs. Over the past three years, the foun- Gold Health Foundation Charity Golf Clas- dation has contributed in excess of $250,000 sic, held in May at the Leduc Golf and Country towards the hospital and health centres. Club, raised more than $30,000. “The foundation means a great deal to our The foundation also encourages organizations hospital,” Wishnowski says. “It assists and and groups to create their own fundraising events encourages better patient care and is willing to where anything goes – from swim-a-thons to participate and promote the hospital and our casual day collections. This past summer, a new health centres to our residents and increase our event raised money on Telford Lake for the foun- profile in the community.” dation: the Edmonton Dragon Boat Club’s first Janzen agrees: “The foundation is a link annual Leduc Dragon Boat Festival. between the hospital and the community. We see “People here care about the community and different things that the community might need have no problem reaching into their pockets sup- in terms of health care and comfort and we go porting local health care. They see that it goes about getting these things.” into the hospital and that we do good things with * Founded in 1993 with a volunteer board, the the money.” foundation operates with a part-time administra- tion team to maintain minimal costs. Its success can be attributed to dedicated volunteers. For more information, to donate “Volunteers are what we like to call our price- to or volunteer with the Black less donations,” Popik says. “They form the Gold Health Foundation, backbone of our success. Their contributions visit, range from those board members who dedicate call 780-980-4536 or e-mail blackgold@ their time and expertise to the operations of the 18 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
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  • 19. Take the Wheel Graduated Driver Licensing aims to keep the province’s newest drivers safer. You won’t hear mom and dad complaining By Phoebe Dey IllustratIon by rodrIgo lópez orozco G razia Dicker has a terrible habit of back-seat driving. But when it’s her 15-year-old daughter Natalia at the wheel, she’s white-knuckling the arm rests even more than usual. Natalia is not worried; she’s due to get her driver’s licence this fall, just after her 16th birthday. She has finished her driver training course and practiced as many hours as possible. “I’m taking it pretty slowly,” says the Grade 11 student. “I still haven’t even prac- tised driving with music on in the car.” Her mother is not complaining. The more experience her daughter gains, the better she’ll be at making quick decisions. “The roads are busier than when I learned to drive in Edmonton,” says Grazia. “There is more traffic and distractions. It’s harder for new drivers because everyone is in a hurry and they show little respect for people trying to learn. “Even with a novice driver’s sign on top of the vehicle, people were riding Natalia’s tail, honking or cutting her off. People have no patience. It’s tough on young drivers, who need that extra second to respond.” New drivers are in the most danger right after the learning period is over, says Kathy Holgate, a co- ordinator at Kidsafe Connection, AHS-Capital Health’s pediatric injury prevention program at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. One in five 16- year-olds experience a collision in their first year of driving, with the crash rate the highest in the first month after becoming licensed. “There are too many kids dying on our streets and highways. It is frustrating and heartbreaking because the majority of those collisions or injuries have some element of prevention,” says Holgate. Alberta’s major trauma rate for youths is higher than the national average. About 60% of all major trauma admissions to Alberta hospitals are the result of transportation-related incidents, and casualty col- lision rates were highest for people between 15 and 24 years. Male drivers between 18 and 19 had the highest 20 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 20. involvement rate of all drivers involved in colli- “The province has set the baseline measures, sions. Crash rates are the highest when there are but parents are the gatekeepers,” says Caverhill. teen passengers in the vehicle, and at night. In Parents should also remember that they are still * Alberta, 70% of crashes causing serious injuries in charge of their kids. Set curfews; limit passen- occur to teens driving in rural areas. gers and take the keys away if the rules aren’t fol- Since Alberta adopted Graduated Driver lowed. Grazia Dicker has informed Natalia there Licensing (GDL) in 2003, Natalia – and any will be a strict vehicle curfew and limits on how other new driver in the province – will be on pro- many friends are allowed in the car once she has For more information on the bation for two years before she gets her licence. her licence. “I have mixed emotions about send- Graduated Driver’s Licensing It works like this: a new driver must first obtain ing her off on her own,” she says. “It’s like every- program, visit , or a learner’s licence (Class 7) which will allow thing else. At some point, you have to let them go to learn more about prevention go to Kidsafe them to drive only when accompanied by a fully and hope they will be OK.” Connection: licensed driver who is 18 years of age or older. Once a driver has held a Class 7 licence for one year and has reached 16, he or she can take the standard Alberta road test and become a pro- bationary driver. A probationary driver must maintain this status for two years before he or she is eligible to take the advanced road test and become a fully licensed driver. “Parents are often happy when their teens learn to drive because they get some of their freedom back, but it is so important to take the time to Finally a nutritional supplement designed with work with them, to protect your child,” says Hol- moms in mind! gate. Research has shown that GDL reduces crash rates among teenage drivers, who must follow spe- cific conditions. Learners must stay off the roads Discover Sweet Momma® pregnancy supplements specially between midnight and 5 a.m. and must always designed to be safe for mom and baby, while relieving morning be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 18 years or older. Then they must keep a clean record sickness, leg cramps and constipation. for two years before they can earn a full-fledged For information about Sweet Momma® supplements and to licence. The idea is that by limiting new drivers’ find retailers in your area visit: exposure to the highest risk conditions, they will gain experience and be more likely to come out of the experience without being injured or killed. “Even before teenagers are driving, they are watching you,” says Holgate. “They will start to copy your habits, so be a good driver yourself.” As good a driver as you think you are, it has likely been a long time since you earned your licence. Leave the teaching to the professionals, and then help them practise, practise and prac- tise some more. “Handing over your keys isn’t enough,” says Holgate. “Once driver’s education is completed and the child has a basic understand- ing, take them out at night, in rush hour, and on slick roads. Most courses offer 10 to 14 hours behind the wheel and it is not nearly enough time to gain the complex skills good drivers need.” A parental commitment means putting in about 60 additional practice hours, says Mike Caverhill, special project co-ordinator with Alberta Transportation. “We can put off a full- fledged licence for as long as possible, but they are still going to go out on their own,” says Caverhill. “It’s like a musical instrument. You have to prac- tice to be good at it, but in this case, the stakes are much higher. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine 000.SweetMomma_1-2M_nBL.indd 1 9/11/08 12:53:30 PM
  • 21. Goodbye, ouch Potato C In the summer issue of Your Health we asked you to tell us your weight By Sharon Gafka loss successes; this is Sharon’s story O ctober 26, 2006 was a defin- ing day in my life. I had an appointment with a new doc- tor for a yearly physical. I knew the dreaded topic of my weight would fruit. I looked for healthier snacks with a vengeance. I ordered a pair of correc- tive goggles and dug out my old bath- ing suit. A friend of mine agreed to go to aquasize classes with me twice a week. come up, and it did, but not in the way Then I attended the classes, even though I expected. My doctor talked to me about I struggled with my allergy to chlorine; nutrition. She pointed out that I was quite because even salt water pools have a bit savvy about it and asked why I wasn’t follo- of chlorine in them. wing what I knew. That caught me off Keeping motivated was the hardest guard. “I don’t know,” I said. In retro- part; I attended the first of the Weight spect, I think I was avoiding confronting Wise courses and then didn’t want to the issue. go to the second. My sister forced me to But my doctor was very caring in her go, something I am eternally grateful for. approach and told me, as I was crying, That was the session that drove home the that I was a nice lady and she wanted me importance of portion control, among to have a healthy life and retirement. But other things. I highly recommended this given my current weight, that outcome course to anyone. Almost two years later, was not going to be in my future. She sent I am 140 pounds lighter. I am attending me off with a couple of assignments: first, aquasize classes up to six times a week she wanted me to look into taking aqua- and I walk during my lunch hour every size classes, which would be gentle on my day, rain or shine. One of my aquasize chronically injured knee. When I tried hid- instructors once told me that I’d start to ing behind my allergy to chlorine she coun- crave exercise. I thought he was crazy. tered with the fact that there are salt water Nearly a year later, he was right. Go fig- pools. Next, she wanted me to go onto ure! I try to listen more to my body, to AHS-Capital Health’s website and check my feet hurt; I’m tired; and on and on.) No more. know when I am hungry and when I am full. out the courses that they offer. She also wanted me Over the next few days I sat down with the people I will always be a couch potato, but that doesn’t to look into signing up with Weight Watchers. I’m closest to and told them that my doctor had mean I can’t fit exercise into my life. I’m con- I left her office depressed and in need of com- read me the riot act; that I need to lose weight and stantly broke from buying smaller-sized clothes, fort foods. I was trying to decide what to feed I needed their help. I would recommend every- but, hey, that’s a small price to pay. I have never felt my self-pity when something clicked. I decided one do this, as my friends and family have been better or had more energy. If you had asked me that I was going to start right then and there. my strongest supporters. two years ago if I’d ever say these things I would I had known for a long time that I needed to I enrolled in Weight Wise in December. have laughed myself silly. I know better now. But make lifestyle changes that would last a lifetime. I didn’t look into Weight Watchers (don’t tell my I’m not done yet. I’m not sure what’s ahead but I also knew I ate too much, badly, and never exer- doctor!) because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to I will forevermore eat healthier and make exercise cised. Ever! I realized I had to take responsibility count my calories on an ongoing basis. After all, a priority in my life. If I can find my way out of for my obesity. I had to stop blaming my mother I was going to make lifelong changes. I needed the rut, anyone can. for making me finish everything on my plate; stop something I would stick with for the rest of my *As a reward for sharing her story with us, a slim making excuses for why I couldn’t go for a walk at life. Then I threw out all the junk food in my new Sharon Gafka will get a free Company’s Com- lunch time. (My knee hurts; I have shin splints; cupboards. I started eating more vegetables and ing cookbook! 22 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 22. Get off the Gravy Bloat By Sally Johnston W elcome to the holiday season. Please take a (smallish) plate, help yourself to a (modest) amount of food. Remember, the next few months will be a merry-go- round of opportunities to eat and drink until you’re bloated, lethargic and two pants sizes bigger. Beginning with the Labour Day barbecue and Thanksgiving din- ner’s pumpkin pie, Christmas’ cakes and cookies, to New Year’s drunken debauchery, there’ll be lots of reasons to sabotage your otherwise healthy diet. Here are some tips and a healthy recipe to get you in the mood and on the right track: On The Road: At Home: At a Party: • Don’t guzzle down grease and carbohydrates • Cook with chicken or vegetable broth • Eat from a medium-sized plate about the size between shopping sprees; pack some fruit, instead of fat. This works for roasting and of a frisbee. Fill half the plate with vegetables granola bars and nuts in a bag. Have something sautéing. and fruit. healthy ready for when you get home laden • When baking cakes or muffins, replace half • Limit grains or potatoes to one quarter, and with packages. the sugar with an equal amount of unsweet meat, fish or vegetarian alternatives to the • Stay active. Go for a walk after dinner, build a ened apple sauce. Use egg whites instead of remaining quarter. snowman, or go ice skating. After all, the holidays whole eggs, and opt for low-fat cheeses. • Skip alcoholic drinks, punch, egg nog and pop. are as much about spending time with your • Try different recipes, even if they aren’t • Don’t starve in anticipation of a big feast. loved ones as they are about food. a traditional addition to your table. Snack on something healthy before you go to a • Plan ahead. Creating a menu in advance will party. And once you’re there, don’t park your help you buy only what you plan to consume butt by the buffet table. • Stay away from appetizers: two chicken wings, two sausage rolls and one mini-quiche can Make a Mexican Christmas Salad add up to a full meal’s worth You will need: of calories. 3 to 4 medium red apples, cubed 1 cup (250 mL) shredded carrot 1 can (398 mL) pineapple chunks packed in own juice ¼ cup (60 mL) raisins 3 Tbsp. (45 mL) toasted chopped walnuts or almonds 1 cup (250 mL) light sour cream 2 sticks chopped celery In a large bowl, mix everything except the sour cream. Gently fold in the sour cream and sweeten to taste with some of the pine- apple juice. Serves 6 to 8 people. Alterna- tively, replace the sour cream with plain or vanilla yogurt, or a mix of both. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 23
  • 23. GENERATION FIT: Jeff Gonek, right, talked his grandfather, John Heck into expanding his horizons with meditation, tai chi, and bird watching 24 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 24. to be My grandfather and I were looking for safe physical activities for seniors; along the way we found each other By Jeff Gonek M y grandfather, John Heck, is pretty active for an 87-year-old. He golfs every morning with his buddies, and then comes home to garden. Like many seniors, he needs a physical activity that’s a little on the careful side, that engages his mind and his body. Logging miles on a treadmill or slugging weights at the gym are not really this Second World War veteran’s style. Recently, I undertook a mission to find the per- fect activity for him, one that would be stimulating but PhotograPh by curtis trent not too hard on his dear old heart. He agreed, but there was one catch: we had to go together. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 25
  • 25. Fit to Be Tried It seemed natural to start with birdwatching, in birding, you’ll need a few essentials: a good set Birdwatching was a great success, but soon I an activity that consists of wandering the bush of binoculars, comfortable clothes and a Peterson had appointed myself the task of introducing my trying to identify and recall different bird spe- Field Guide to help you identify any feathered grandfather to something new. To be sure I chose cies. It’s enough to get the heart rate up, but is friends. Demulder has had the same book and safe activities, I contacted Lisa Tremblay, exer- so much fun you barely notice you’re exercising. pair of binoculars for 30 years. cise specialist for AHS-Capital Health. Vigorous Grandpa and I embarked on a five-kilometre We continued up along the grassy nooks, exercise is not required in this age group, she said. journey in St. Albert with an extremely fit 80- taking in our surroundings and spotting spe- “Most of the activities needed should be of low to year-old named Peter Demulder. It was magical cies after species of bird. At one point, Demul- moderate intensity,” said Tremblay. “Flexibility is walking along the Sturgeon River past ponds full der suddenly closed his eyes to listen to a distant especially important for the elderly as it helps to of bulrushes. The wind rustled through our hair keep joints healthy and promotes a wide as we trekked through the tall grass over slightly Birdwatching is enough to get range of motion, allowing people to per- rough terrain. The slow pace was relaxing, allow- form their daily activities with less effort, ing us to connect with our surroundings. Sur- the heart rate up, but is so prolonging independent living.” Armed prisingly, it’s quite a workout; even at the ripe old age of 24, I was unprepared for the challenge. much fun you barely notice with this information, I setpromote flexi- for an activity that would about to look Demulder identified a variety of ducks, peli- you’re exercising. bility. It wasn’t long before I had settled on cans, herons and swallows in only an hour. We the perfect thing: tai chi. The only prob- would only see limited species in summer, he chirp, saying how fascinated he was with how lem was, my grandfather balked. “I’m not doing said. “The best time to observe birds is during the mind works, “memorizing the songs and some sort of new age Chinese exercises,” he said. the spring and fall migration, with September training your mind to recall them at the blink of “I’m not going to stand there and do this stuff.” and April being peak times.” During these peri- an eye.” The distant chirp turned out to be a cliff I explained that tai chi is a 200-year-old prac- ods there are groups that lead expeditions, such swallow. This was the first of many observations tice that consists of a series of slow, repetitive as the Edmonton Nature Club, which meets and stories shared between my grandfather and movements that emphasize flexibility and self- from September through the winter months at Demulder, of wars won and lost, travels, stories control. It has many health benefits, including the Royal Alberta Museum. If you’re interested from their lifelong marriages. improvements to the immune system. Accord- ing to a 2007 study led by the University of Cali- fornia, 112 adults between the ages of 59 and 86 who practised tai chi for more than six months had immune system levels that were comparable to being vaccinated for disease. When tai chi was combined with vaccination, the test groups’ immunity levels reached those normally seen in middle age. Over Grandpa’s continued objections, we went to the Hunyuantaiji Academy, a small stu- dio in south Edmonton, where we were greeted by warm, friendly people of all ages. Grandpa was smiling nervously as we moved to the cen- tre of the room. Fellow senior Allen Belsheim led us through basic movements to strengthen our muscles and joints, improve balance and posture. I glanced from time to time at Grandpa and to my surprise I saw he was keeping up with me. And he was smiling! “Holy hell, this loosens up the back in a hurry,” he said. As my joints unlocked and my hips loosened I felt a warm sensation all over my body, and my fingertips began to tingle. I discovered how the mind and body work together, controlling my movements so they eventually flowed on their own. There are a variety of places throughout the AHS-Capital Health region that offer tai chi classes. It’s easy to get started, and all you need 26 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 26. are clothes you can move freely in. Prices vary, What have I learned? I think Lisa Tremblay grandfather and I are closer than ever, and that from $15 for a drop-in class to $1,100 annually. put it best when she said we all have to find activ- is a reward in itself. In fact, over brunch at his “It is amazing to get in touch with the senses,” ities that we enjoy so that we are motivated to house recently, he said he had learned a lot from Grandpa said, “using the mind to memorize, but continue. “To maintain our physical and men- doing these different activities with me. “It really the body to control the movements. I didn’t even tal health as well as our quality of life, we need opened my eyes,” he said. “I want your grand- feel like I was exercising.” He was so won over by to regard physical activity as a lifelong pursuit. It mother to try them, but she is too stubborn.” it that he spent that evening trying to convince should not be regarded as a temporary fix.” And then he went into the basement, turned on my grandmother to join him next time. Since we began this journey together, my the TV and began to practise some tai chi. Having led my grandfather through the woods to engage his mind, and tai chi to chal- lenge his body, it was now time to tackle his spirit – in a group meditation session at the Woodcroft Public Library in Edmonton. Meditation is a The freedom to take control 5,000-year-old discipline, in which one tries to get beyond everyday thinking into a deeper state of your health coverage of relaxation and awareness. It involves turning your attention to a single point of reference until you achieve greater focus, creativity or self-aware- ness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind. By letting go of thoughts and worries one at time, you can clear your mind and become fully aware of who you are and what you are doing, said Rod Walker, layminister from the Edmon- ton Buddhist Meditation Group. “It’s not physi- cally demanding,” he said. “You can meditate while sitting or walking, and it is excellent for the elderly or slow-moving individuals.” The Edmonton Buddhist Meditation Group is only one of many organizations that offer med- itation classes in a variety of locations in the AHS- Capital Health region. The class we attended was free. All the equipment necessary was provided AMA’s Health and Dental Plan by the group, including a variety of mats, so all you need are some comfortable clothes for sitting gives you the choice or kneeling. Participants sat against a wall on their knees More options. More plans. More flexibility. AMA’s Health and Dental or with their legs crossed and tried to let their Plan fills the gaps in provincial coverages and is competitively priced. It thoughts slip away. Grandpa sat on a chair. lets you mix and match, choosing the coverage you need for you and your We discovered how to touch base with differ- family and you can add various levels of dental and/or prescription drug ent parts of our bodies and senses. We sat for coverage to the extended health care plan. Plus, many of the plans require 15 minutes and then did a walking meditation, no medical questionnaires. Now you’re in control. following one behind the other in slow, easy steps. I became very aware of every little sound, and when my tape recorder stopped abruptly, I felt the sound travel up my spine. Walker said that was because I had achieved a medi- tative state, and my body was in tune with my surroundings, heightening my senses. Grandpa had also achieved it and was shocked how memories from more than 70 years ago flitted in This program is underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. Manulife Financial and the block design are registered service marks and trademarks of The Manufacturers and out of his mind. He said he felt like he sud- Life Insurance Company and are used by it and its affiliates including Manulife Financial Corporation. denly understood how all kinds of events from his life fit together into a whole. 1-866-268-3711 | Apply Online AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine 000.AMA_1-2M_nBL.indd 1 8/13/08 9:39:23 AM
  • 27. That Certain Glow Fed up with receiving incomplete health care, Roxanne Ulanicki decided to do something about it By Malcolm Azania PhotograPh by 3ten F ormer athlete Roxanne Ulanicki knows how spina bifida can land a person in the penalty box of life. Her four-year tenure on the national women’s wheelchair basketball team, which com- peted in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, ended in 1990 because multiple childhood surgeries had left little “hooks” made of scar tissue on her spi- nal cord. Her spinal cord became hooked to the bottom of her spinal column, jiggling her brain when she moved and triggering agonizing head- aches. “That’s when the depression and anxiety started,” she says, “knowing I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.” Although she was an adult, Ulanicki had to see her former pediatric neurosurgeon for treatment. At the time, few doctors specialized in treating adults with spina bifida, because few children with it lived to adulthood. But things are differ- ent now. Not only are spina bifida rates dropping, but AHS-Capital Health’s Glenrose Rehabili- tation Hospital opened the Adult Spina Bifida Clinic in June 2008. And they can partly thank 39-year-old Ulanicki, now a patient at the clinic, for leading the charge that led to its creation. Prior to the clinic’s existence, says Ulanicki, people with spina bifida had to go to a family doctor for their medical needs. “Family doctors work for a fee – about one patient every 11 min- utes – which doesn’t work for people who have ‘complicated’ bodies,” she says. Growing up in rural Alberta, she underwent many, many surgeries and procedures, was fitted with a variety of braces, both half-leg and full-leg, a cane, then crutches and finally a wheelchair by the time she was 17. 28 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 28. As an adult, Ulanicki struggled to overcome There is no single known cause of this birth Capital Health, she’s been able to accomplish the physical and emotional pain imposed on her defect. Researchers are looking into heredity, almost everything she set out to. by a medical system at a loss with how to treat nutrition, environment and pollution, all of “My family never said I couldn’t do things,” her. She had more surgery to repair the scarring which can physically damage a fetus. However, she explains. “I was shocked out in the real world on her spinal column so she could continue to the incidence of spina bifida decreases by 70% to find out other people didn’t treat me that way. play sports, but the surgery failed. For the next when women take folic acid supplements prior But we’re all here for a reason. Maybe people with 20 years, she would struggle to get the help she to conception and during the first trimester of disabilities are born to slow everyone else down desperately needed. their pregnancies. and make them grateful for what they can do. At the new clinic, there are specialists of every Trying to cope with the condition with- “Had I been born in most countries other stripe, from neurologists to physiatrists (reha- out help is a herculean task. Ulanicki came to than Canada, I wouldn’t exist, because there isn’t bilitation physicians) who give patients the time Edmonton from La Corey, north of Bonny- medical care, or there are weird beliefs about peo- they need. Dr. Mario DiPersio, the clinic’s medi- ville, in 1987. After she quit playing sports, she ple with disabilities.” cal lead, says the services offered should It took two or three years to make fill the gap in the continuum of care “Had I been born in most countries the clinic happen. A group of people, for patients with spina bifida. “Our including Ulanicki, from a variety of new clinic has an integrated approach other than Canada, I wouldn’t exist, community and health organizations to care,” he says. “Patients can access specialized medical services, including because there isn’t medical care, or pooled to create the first multidiscipli- talents their resources, knowledge and nursing, rehabilitation medicine, uro- there are weird beliefs about people nary adult spina bifida clinic in Canada. logy, neurology and neurosurgery.” The Open since summer 2008, the clinic clinic will also educate other health pro- with disabilities.” operates the first Monday of every fessionals in the latest means of support month inside the Glenrose adult out- for these patients and help adults with the con- spent the next 17 years searching for housing patient clinic and the third Thursday for adoles- dition navigate its many physical, psychological and struggling to keep a job. “Even bungalows in cents. Patients requiring emergency medical help and social effects. Edmonton have three steps up and three down,” are handled immediately in the emergency ward. The term spina bifida comes from the latin for she says. “If you’re going to function as a citizen, Referrals are not needed; patients can call for “split spine.” It is a birth defect which results in you need adequate housing. I’d literally have themselves and schedule an appointment. an incompletely formed spinal cord. The verte- to crawl in and out of the bathroom. I’d come “The clinic’s amazing,” beams Alisha Brown, brae over the open portion of the spinal cord also home exhausted at the end of the day to a non- “absolutely stunning. It’s going to be revolution- do not form properly, remaining open. Babies functional home.” The resulting stress taxed her ary, with all kinds of effects on the health-care with it may be born with the abnormal portion physical and mental health. The day she had to system for people with other disabilities. People of their spine sticking out through the back. take medical leave from her job at Canada Cus- will no longer be so left behind.” The defect can be surgically closed after birth, toms, she wept. “It was further validation that The Glenrose’s new clinic is also proof of what but this does not restore normal function to the I didn’t fit in this world.” someone with heart can accomplish if they keep lower back and limbs. Every year, one in 2,500 In 2004, Ulanicki was accepted at Edmonton’s trying. As Ulanicki says, “Why fight this fight for Canadian children is born with the condition, ArtSpace Housing Co-operative, where 29 out of just me?” whose side-effects include leg paralysis, scoliosis 88 units are adapted for people with disabilities. and deformities of the hips, feet and legs; poor For the first time in her life, Ulanicki began meet- or non-existent bowel and bladder control; poor ing other adults with spina bifida. But the joy of The Three Forms of Spina Bifida co-ordination; urinary tract disorders; bone frac- it faded as her awareness grew of their collective Myelomeningocele: the most severe form, tures; psychological, social and sexual problems, need for proper health care. Incensed, she began in which the spinal cord and its protective and more. It’s also linked to hydrocephalus, a writing letters to officials at Capital Health, covering, the meninges, protrude from an buildup of excess fluid in the brain which can Health Canada, Health and Wellness, her MP, opening in the spine. cause developmental delays. MLA, doctors and whomever else she felt needed Meningocele: the spinal cord develops “Usually what happens is when people with to know about “the fragmented service offered normally, but the meninges protrude from spina bifida hit 18, they’re no longer cared for by to people discharged from care at age 18, who the back, created by damaged or missing the health system,” says Alisha Brown, program struggle not only with the physical barriers of vertebrae. manager of the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus living with a disability, but also the emotional Occulta: meaning “hidden.” This is when Association of Northern Alberta. “They have to barriers created by lifelong treatment.” Ulanicki one or more vertebrae are malformed, but do all the co-ordinating of services by themselves, wanted formal changes and, after writing more covered by a layer of skin. Occulta is the relying on the good graces of their pediatricians letters, surveying her peers, and drafting and mildest form of spina bifida. to get them through adult care.” submitting a position paper on her findings to AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 29
  • 29. SERVICE WITH A SMILE: Phyllis Anderson offers some of her home-baked goodies to a cherished guest in her home in Stony Plain 30 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 30. Volunteers are the beating heart of most charitable and non-profit organizations. Without them, the world By Cait Wills | PhotograPhy by aMy SENECaL would be a much lonelier place U nder darkening skies and the rumble of thunder, Phyllis and Lorne Anderson bustle about in their backyard in Stony Plain, moving chairs under the shelter of trees and worrying about whether their guests will their guests are residents from WestView and the Good Samaritan George Hennig Place, a long-term care and assisted-living facility in the AHS-Capital Health region. WestView also pro- vides primary health services through acute care, arrive for their sixth annual homemade pie party continuing care, 24-hour emergency services, before the threatening clouds above break open. obstetrics, diagnostic imaging, lab services, day “It wouldn’t dare rain,” says Phyllis, resolutely. surgery, public health, community care, reha- The skies, it seems, are listening. The sun bilitation services and mental health services. breaks through and illuminates dozens of metic- Because of the breadth of medical coverage, the ulously planted flowers in the Anderson garden. health centre has an ongoing need for people The wind picks up and the clouds quickly dis- like the Andersons, says site director Ellen Billay. appear, just in time for buses to begin to arrive “Volunteers play a huge role in enhancing our and disgorge their passengers. This isn’t just any patients’ quality of life,” says Billay. “They are a afternoon tea, and the Andersons aren’t just any very important connection to the community.” hosts. They’re volunteers with the continuing In 2004, over 11.8 million Canadians vol- care unit at the WestView Health Centre, and unteered their time, contributing almost two AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 31
  • 31. SERVED WITH LOVE: The Andersons have been Flowers for Vera hosting their annual homemade pie parties for home and long-term care residents for six years by the cause supported by the organization. If you live in the AHS-Capital Health region and want to help, there are plenty of opportu- nities to do so. Volunteers are expected to con- tribute a minimum of two hours a week and placements are available seven days a week, morning through evening. There are 13 facilities within the region that require assistance. Volunteering isn’t just about filling the hours between waking and sleeping. It’s about the power of human interaction to transform lives, and the bittersweet opportunity to help oth- ers regain their independence. Esther Lieneu, a guest at this year’s pie party, says she used to have parties in her home in Spruce Grove. “It hurts every time I think of it,” she says. “But it’s like the Garden of Eden here.” In their garden, the Andersons nurture petu- nias, delphiniums, geraniums, lilies, rosebushes, lilacs and frequent guests. The garden is also open to the public. The mayor regularly brings visiting dignitaries by for a tour and a cup of tea. Every spring, they plant flowers for the resi- dents who’ve passed away. And this year, “there are petunias, geraniums and lamium for Vera,” says Phyllis. The Gift of Giving A University of Alberta researcher and profes- sor has shown that it truly is better to give than billion volunteer hours – the equivalent of one They’ve lost count of the hours and care they’ve to receive. In 2007, a marketing professor in the million full-time jobs. Volunteers are the heart invested in WestView residents since 2002. “I U of A’s School of Business, Robert Fisher, led a of Canada’s charitable and non-profit organiza- think it was something we were supposed to do,” tions. That human touch is crucial everywhere, says the 77-year-old Phyllis. “We were supposed study that found that people are more inclined but especially for residents in continuing care, to be here for these people.” to give their time, energy or money when there says Becky Caldwell, recreation facilitator at But it’s not always easy to remain cheerful. is a perceived altruistic element. George Hennig Place. This past year, Phyllis became especially close to The study looked at donations to a television “The relationships volunteers have with a resident named Vera. She brought her a loaf of station during its annual fundraising appeal. the residents are so important,” says Caldwell. fresh bread every time she visited. One night she Fisher discovered that “selfish benefits” – where “They really look forward to outings. They don’t was making cinnamon rolls and decided to bring donors received recognition or tangible items get a lot of visitors, so it’s especially nice for the the rolls and loaf of bread to the centre the next in return for a pledge – actually decreased the residents to have one-on-one time.” morning. Vera passed away that night. “Losing amount of pledges received. That sentiment is one that many volunteers, friends is the biggest challenge, and the biggest “The appeals that were most effective were including the Andersons, share. But becoming a heartbreak,” says Phyllis. “Sometime we lose those that emphasized the benefits to others, critical spoke in the wheel of volunteer services eight or nine in a row. Sometimes we have really such as the station, the community or disadvan- in Stony Plain was never their intention. After hard times. They are our family. But it is also very taged groups,” he says. Fisher’s findings suggest reaching retirement age, they decided to cut back rewarding, and you have to keep going.” that people expect self or social censure if they on work and focus on their garden. They became The Andersons will continue volunteering as don’t help a needy person or organization they very active in the Stony Plain Horticultural Soci- long as they’re able, partly because of the ongo- care about. “Failing to help under these condi- ety, and were so successful at raising money they ing need. tions leads to shame,” says Fisher. “This is a were asked to run the silent auction fundraiser at According to a national survey, the top three a local extended living facility. While he was act- reasons for volunteering are: wanting to contrib- powerful negative emotion that is experienced ing as an auctioneer, Lorne, now 80, was asked ute to the community; to use one’s skills and expe- when there is an inconsistency between a per- if he ever volunteered, and the rest is history. riences; and because the individual was affected son’s actual, and desired, self.” 32 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 32. Advertising FeAture Dental hygienists offer introduction to oral health By Erik Froese E ight-year-old Rhiannon Stott is having a ball. After all, she is lying on a comfortable reclined chair, wearing a pair of funky pink sunglasses, casually watching a few cartoons, while dental hygienist Kim Ehrman spreads some cool looking blue dye onto her teeth. “I like the painting best,” says Rhiannon, referring to the dye, which changes from blue to pink in areas with plaque, exposing crevices that need better at- tention with a toothbrush. Very little pigment is turning pink. Obviously, she’s got the brushing thing nailed. Today, Ehrman will teach Rhiannon how to floss for the first time and, after a brief cleaning, a strawberry- flavoured fluoride treatment (Rhiannon’s favourite) and a few more cartoons, the third-grader will run into the waiting room and show her mom, Chantalle, the prizes she got for being a good patient. It’s almost like this is… fun. And that’s the point. Strong teeth and healthy gums contribute to overall good health, clear speech and personal confidence. Many parents recognize the benefits of having their children get regular checkups and learn about the importance of oral health. But children can sometimes be a little skittish when it comes to things dental, and that can make it tough for everyone involved. That’s where a dental hygienist can help. → All sm s ile September/October 2008 25
  • 33. Dental hygienists at work, at the clinic, in the community and in your home... 2 1 Photos: Sean Dennie 3 “Dental hygienists have always taken care of tive approach. She worked as a private practice hygiene services to clients of all ages in a private everyone – children and adults,” says Brenda Walker, dental hygienist for 10 years before entering the practice setting. As part of this care, Fode makes Registrar and Chief Administrative Officer, College of public health sector seven years ago. She is now mouthguards for athletes after educating them about Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta. “We know employed with community health in Edmonton, work- a mouthguard’s role in preventing dental damage if we can work with children from an early age, we ing with community head start programs that support and concussion in all games, not just contact sports. have a much better chance of ensuring they enjoy at-risk pre-school children and their families. Beyond Thanks to legislative changes in 2006, dental lifelong dental health, so we are focused on making connecting children and their families to helpful health hygienists are able to establish their own practices that happen by providing children with an introduction and wellness programs and resources, Garrison separate from a dentist’s office. As a result, dental P to dental care.” teaches children about the importance of good oral hygienists are developing new approaches to the T roviding oral health education is a large hygiene. “When I’m in the classroom, I’m trying to delivery of services, including to children. part of a dental hygienist’s job. Since make it a positive experience,” says Garrison. “It’s he approach is working. Kim Ehrman and 1951, dental hygienists have been provid- often the first time these children have seen a dental her sister, Melanie Johnston-Dore, opened ing care in community health settings and, health professional. It can seem pretty invasive when The Edge, a dental hygiene practice in since the 1960s, in private practice settings. I approach them wearing a mask and going into their northeast Calgary in October 2007, and G According to Vickie McKinnon, Manager, Oral mouth with a mirror.” Rhiannon loves it, according to her father, Garreth Health Education and Community Services, Calgary arrison uses puppets, books, colouring Stott. “It’s all about being able to relate to the patient, Health Region, dental hygienists working in commu- sheets, videos, stuffed animals and role- no matter their age,” says Stott. “They (the dental nity health build oral health capacity in other health play games to try and dispel any anxiet- hygienists) do a fantastic job. Rhiannon enjoys professionals and service providers. They work col- ies. This enables her to better inform coming here, which is nice.” And that means more laboratively with other agencies and stakeholders to the children about how oral health affects a person’s than just cleaning teeth: it encompasses education address the oral health needs of the population and overall well-being. For example, eating a balanced, about proper nutrition as well as tooth and gum care influence policy change. Using a targeted population low-sugar diet containing all the major food groups is at home. It also means making sure that children like approach, they provide oral health services to priority good for teeth, but it also benefits the rest of the body Rhiannon are comfortable in their office. (at-risk) populations. These health professionals and mind. Brushing and flossing prevents cavities “It’s very important that you don’t push the child,” research evidence-based community dental health and gum diseases, which in turn aids in avoiding says Johnston-Dore. “You want children to be happy practices and develop resources to promote oral behavioural changes connected to painful mouth ...You want to make it fun for them.” health messages. A big focus of community health issues, as well as improving confidence by ensuring a Johnston-Dore agrees with the American Academy dental hygienists is to work with other health profes- nice, bright smile. of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendation that dental sionals and stakeholders on multidisciplinary projects. In contrast to Garrison, Greg Fode, a registered visits begin with the appearance of a child’s first Melanie Garrison’s work illustrates this collabora- dental hygienist in Raymond, Alberta, provides dental tooth, typically around six months, but no later than
  • 34. Advertising FeAture Message FroM Brenda Walker, registrar and ChieF adMinistrative oFFiCer, College oF registered dental T hygienists oF alBerta oday’s children and adolescents are the key to a strong and viable future for Al- berta. Their oral health is critical to speech development and positive self-esteem and the ability to eat healthy foods, grow strong and con- centrate at school. Strong teeth and healthy gums are integral components of good general health and well-being. Since the 1970s, dental decay has been on the 5 decline for most segments of the population due to the widespread use of fluoridated toothpastes. However, the decay rate in young children has actually been increasing over the past decade. Front: Sarah Graham gets an early in- Dental decay affects children from families of every troduction to oral health from her mom income level. The consequences are far-reaching, and dental hygienist, Tina Graham. and children can experience a multitude of problems Inside: 1) Trish Clayton uses a portable as a result of tooth decay. These include pain, dental chair to treat Brenna Hein in infections, abscesses, gastrointestinal disorders, a “home setting.” 2) Rhiannon Stott, chewing problems, malnutrition, insufficient physical wearing her funky pink sunglasses, development, low flashes a cavity-free smile. 3) Melanie self-esteem, di- Garrison uses a puppet to teach minished ability to children like Kennedy Seaborne about learn, and missed oral health. 4) Kim Ehrman with patient school. For their 4 Rhiannon Stott. 5) Greg Fode with son, parents, a child’s Ashton, shows off a mouthguard. dental problems mean lost work days, financial one year. This way a child can become accustomed “It’s a different way to access treatment and costs, worry and to a visit and learn positive oral health practices. hopefully to reach some people who, for whatever stress. A mother’s prenatal visits are also important. Dental reason, have been finding it difficult to attend regular Through hygienists can help explain the connection between a appointments,” says Clayton, adding that mobile den- screening, educa- tion, therapeutic mom’s diet and the impact it can have on the dental tal hygiene services exist in most of Alberta’s major WALKer and preventive and overall health of a child. They will encourage the centres. “It makes a big difference for the families and procedures, dental expectant parents to become informed about the oral for the clients,” says Clayton, noting that her practice hygienists can help reduce the risk of oral health A health of their newborn. This will include teaching nullifies transportation difficulties. problems for young Albertans. Dental hygienists about the causes of early childhood caries (tooth s with all dental hygienists, Clayton works work with parents to help them understand the decay process, make healthy food and drink choices decay) such as how bacteria can be transmitted from in close collaboration with other oral for their children, and recognize the early signs of parent to child; using bottles containing milk or sugary health-care practitioners around her city. decay. At the early stages of decay, dental hygien- liquids at bedtime and prolonged, frequent use of sippy If she runs across something that requires ists apply fluoride varnishes that may inhibit the de- cups. Early childhood caries, if left untreated, can additional expertise – such as a cavity that needs cay process. Children with later stages of decay are destroy baby teeth and reach the nerves of the teeth, filling or orthodontic concerns – she is quick to refer referred to a dentist for treatment. Dental hygienists also help children and adolescents reduce the risk causing severe pain and infection. Even though these her clients to a dentist or specialist. The same is true of sports mouth injuries and provide information on teeth are not permanent, they are extremely important of Ehrman and Johnston-Dore. lifestyle choices that impact oral health. for the normal growth and development of the face and Back at The Edge, Rhiannon is learning to floss. The College of Registered Dental Hygienists of jaws, speech development, chewing, esthetics and “Take your middle finger in each hand,” says Ehrman, Alberta has an important role to play in supporting B space maintenance for adult teeth. “and wrap the floss around it.” dental hygienists and their work. Under the Health Professions Act, the CRDHA plays a public protec- y being able to open their own practices, “Not too tight?” asks Rhiannon. tion role by setting entry-to-practice and continuing dental hygienists can now offer a range “Not too tight,” Ehrman agrees. “Now grab the competence requirements, establishing standards of options for clients. Trish Clayton is an floss and go like this. See how you have a little more of practice and a code of ethics, and operating a Edmonton-based dental hygienist who control? Let me give you back the mirror and I want complaint and discipline process. recently opened a mobile dental hygiene business. you try doing it on the back teeth.” But we also believe in public education. The CRDHA works to provide information that will help Clayton packs all the technology she needs to do her Rhiannon giggles as she struggles to reach her individuals and communities prevent oral disease, job into a vehicle and drives to wherever her clients molars. “Each time you do it, it’s just going to keep maintain good oral health and increase awareness live. She often deals with seniors and individuals liv- getting easier and easier and easier,” says Ehrman. of the relationship of oral health to general health. ing with physical disabilities, because of their mobility Thanks to her dental hygienist, the same can In striving to achieve these objectives, it is our issues, but she is increasingly receiving requests now also be said for all of Rhiannon’s regular dental hope that we can better serve the people of Alberta. from parents with young children. hygiene visits.
  • 35. Advertising FeAture Info bItes Attention, parents! teen talk Did you know? What parents can do to enhance the What teens can do for their teeth: l Dental caries (tooth decay) is the dental health of their children: l Take care of your teeth: natural teeth single most common chronic childhood l less than a pea-size: fluoride tooth- are meant to last for a lifetime. Keep your disease, five times more common than paste effectively reduces tooth decay, but teeth, and keep them healthy with daily asthma and seven times more common children should use home care and routine dental office visits. than hay fever. very small amounts l Don’t smoke: Using tobacco products l early childhood caries (tooth decay) of it. Until age six, like cigarettes or spit tobacco increases is an infectious, transmissible, prevent- use less than a the occurrence of oral cancer and throat able chronic disease. pea-sized amount of cancer. tobacco can also cause bad l in young children the upper front toothpaste. breath and stain teeth. teeth are the most often affected. Par- l Rethink your l Avoid drugs: Using street drugs like ents should lift the baby’s lip to watch for drink: Reduce crystal meth can cause severe decay in white lines or spots on those teeth. the risk of tooth all teeth and eventual loss of teeth in a l in very young children, treatment for decay, obe- very short time-span. early childhood cavities must be done sity, diabetes and l Think twice about decorations: oral under general anaesthetic, costing the osteoporosis by piercing can cause oral infections, bleed- public health system millions of dollars selecting healthy bever- ing and nerve damage. Metal jewelry can annually. ages such as water or milk. crack or chip teeth. l Dental decay affects 60 to 90 per cent l lift the lip: Check for early signs of of school-age children. tooth decay in babies and young children. l The United states surgeon General Lift the upper lip once a month, and care- reports that more than 51 million school fully examine the tooth enamel along the hours are lost each year to dental-related gum-line. illness. the situation in Canada parallels l Healthy mouth, healthy body: oral the U.s. health influences general health. Maintain oral health to limit risks of heart disease, interested in a career as a dental hygienist? Want to learn lung infections, diabetes and low birth- weight babies. more about the profession? Visit these websites: l strong baby teeth start with you: l COlleGe OF ReGisTeReD DeNTAl HYGieNisTs OF AlBeRTA eRTA Moms with good oral health are more likely to have healthy babies with good l FACUlTY OF MeDiCiNe AND DeNTisTRY, UNiVeRsiTY OF AlBeRTA oral health. Moms can limit the risk of early childhood tooth decay by making l CANADiAN DeNTAl HYGieNisTs AssOCiATiON sure their own teeth are healthy. source: Courtesy of Calgary Health Region l GOVeRNMeNT OF AlBeRTA: HeAlTH PROFessiONs ACT oral health online AlBeRTA HeAlTH seRViCes – CAlGARY HeAlTH ReGiON AlBeRTA MilK html Want to learn more about nutrition for your child? Get a copy of SNACKS, a Community and oral health provides preventive services and education in tar- special brochure produced by the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Al- geted schools, daycares and community groups. Look here for information about berta, Alberta Milk and the Alberta Dental Association and College. It has detailed early childhood caries, Re-Think Your Drink. information to help you send your child back to school with healthy lunches and snacks. To get your copy, contact the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of AlBeRTA HeAlTH seRViCes – CAPiTAl HeAlTH Alberta at 780-465-1756 or toll free (Alberta) at 1-877-465-1756. Use the search function to find information on the Early Childhood Oral Health Service (ECOHS) for children at risk for early childhood caries as young as 12 months and the school screening and fluoride program in schools. NATiONAl MATeRNAl AND CHilD ORAl HeAlTH ResOURCe CeNTRe Suite 206, 8657 – 51 avenue nW, edMonton, aB t6e 6a8 Find early childhood care and prevention of oral disease information. Phone toll-Free: 1-877-465-1756; Fax: 780-440-0544 WWW.Crdha.Ca
  • 36. S uper-sized suckers. Mountains of M&Ms. Gobs of gobstoppers. Halloween is a smorgasbord of everything sticky and sweet. Every year, thousands of Albertan kids come home dragging pillowcases stuffed with candy, lug them up to their bedrooms and pig out. Halloween can be downright spooky for health-conscious parents, but it doesn’t have to be a nutritional nightmare. With a little preparation, Halloween can be fun and healthy. Crystal Kean and her family manage This Halloween, some parents to ward off the true evils of Halloween– cavities are tricking their kids into and tummy aches – every year. The amount of candy her children could collect and consume forgetting about treats on this holiday gives her the willies. “There has been this really big push to make By Jim Veenbaas | ILLUSTRATIONS BY CAROLINe hAmeL Halloween a bigger event, with bigger portions Sweet and a bigger buzz about it,” says Kean. “It pro- motes the idea that more is good. We just don’t see the need for our children to go out and come home with a bag full of candy. We try to make better choices.” What frightens Kean the most is the refined sugar found in candy and other mass-manufactured Nothings sweets. Refined sugar is particularly unhealthy because it has no vitamins or minerals, raises insulin levels in the blood, depresses the immune system, causes weight gain and pro- motes the storage of fat. But rather than lecture her children about the evils of tooth decay and obesity, Kean makes the night so enjoyable her Fall 2008 37
  • 37. Sweet Nothings Sick or Treat AHS-Capital Health community dietitian Ivonne Sanchez recoils in horror at the thought of children stuffing themselves sick on Halloween, but she knows it’s not always possible to deny them the excitement of trick-or-treating. The only thing for it is to make sure other aspects of their diet are healthy, she says. “Candy is really high in calories, sugar, provides no vitamins or minerals and will have an influence on a child’s appetite. It’s important to make sure kids eat well on Halloween day,” says Sanchez. Make sure everyone eats a healthy supper and snack right before they go out trick-or-treating. That way, junior will be less tempted to scarf down all that candy at once. Limit how much time the kids spend collecting their stash. Once they get home, let them choose a few treats and then put the rest somewhere out of reach. Don’t let kids bring their goody bags to their bedrooms. Ensure your kids’ attention is focused on what they are eating and not a movie or the TV. Selectiveness and moderation are skills that will last them the rest of their lives. Parents can also set a good example by giving out healthy snacks to trick-or-treaters or fun items like stickers and washable tattoos. “If you are giving out homemade treats, include a little tag with your name and a way for people to contact you. That will create awareness with other parents and make them feel comfortable, knowing that it is safe,” says Sanchez. And if you think your kids have too much junk, just bite the bullet and get rid of it. 38 Fall 2008
  • 38. kids have no interest in trick-or-treating. Every year she throws a huge party and invites peo- Give Treats a Healthy Twist: ple throughout her Edmonton neighbourhood • Small bags of pretzels or popcorn to her home. The event has become so popular • Single-serving boxes of cereal she expects to see upwards of 40 kids this year. • Individual hot chocolate packages “It started with about 10 kids but over the • Pre-packaged cheese sticks or cheese and years it has spread,” she says. “We bob for apples crackers and have a treasure hunt. We have a mummy • Small boxes of raisins or fruit leathers contest where the kids get wrapped up in toilet • Fruit cups or applesauce cups paper. It’s really fun. I don’t think our kids have • Granola bars missed out on anything by staying home.” • Sugar-free gum Kean serves up lots of homemade sweets – like candied apples and fresh cupcakes – to satisfy the little ghouls and goblins running are donated to ABC Headstart, a preschool around. But when the party is over, all the junk program for low income families. The festi- food is gone. Her kids, and their guests, don’t val features two haunted houses, a simulated spend the next week gorging on chocolate bars ride through a haunted forest, a whispering and chips. “It’s a more controlled environment. tomb that tells ghost stories, and crafts. “We That’s what we like about it. We have one night decorate the entire Hall B and it’s full of games with treats and then we’re done with it.” for the little ones. It’s a huge event and we use Kean’s approach is becoming a lot more up to 600 volunteers,” says festival co-ordinator popular throughout the AHS-Capital Health Bernice Gordeyko. “The list of activities is region as families attempt to banish candy incredible.” to the nether reaches of the dietary universe. On Halloween night there are parties aplenty But parents in search of activities don’t have in communities throughout the region. If you’re to stage their own; there are plenty of alterna- not sure where to go, start with your local rec- tives throughout the region. The biggest is the reation centre. Many will be hosting their own Scarecrow Festival at Northlands Agricom events, giving children a safe place to celebrate. in Edmonton. It runs from October 17 to 19, The Tri-Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove will be and upwards of 25,000 people will attend the hosting Halloween Hoopla again this year, and three-day howler, which has haunted the city the price is right: it’s free. It features a haunted for the past 16 years. The cost of admission is house, games, cookie-decorating, family- a treat too: it’s only $3, and all of the proceeds friendly entertainers and more. AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine Fall 2008 39
  • 39. Sweet Nothings One of the largest parties in the region is up to 4,500 kilograms of non-perishable food Toys, Not Tooth Decay Hallo-baloo at Millennium Place in Sher- items in past years – almost enough to last the • Stickers or temporary tattoos wood Park. Thousands of kids will attend the entire school year – and organizers are always • Finger puppets, rubber spiders event again this year and enjoy a smorgasbord looking for volunteers. • Plastic rings or beads of games, swimming and entertainment at “It stocks our shelves from November until • Coloured chalk or individually wrapped no cost. The event is spearheaded by the Park the end of April so it’s really essential for us,” play clay Church and has become a staple in the commu- says Lauren Price, executive director of the • Bubbles, wands, balloons or noisemakers nity. There will be carnival games, crafts, two dif- Campus Food Bank. “It also raises aware- • Crayons, pencils, fun-shaped erasers and ferent stages for entertainers, cookie-decorating, ness that hunger exists on our campus. Some pencil toppers face-painting and more. students are really struggling and we can help “Last year was my first, and I was totally make their lives a little bit easier.” amazed. There were so many kids and it’s such Clearly, there’s hope for people of all ages a big, exciting event. There were great per- seeking a healthier approach to this holiday. formers, and the kids had a wonderful time,” In a few years, your kids might start declin- says Randy Young, youth pastor for the Park ing trick-or-treating on their own in favour of Church. “It’s a safe, fun night.” healthier activities. Crystal Kean’s 12-year-old If you’re interested in embodying the spirit of son went trick-or-treating for the first time giving and community service on Halloween, last year and was unimpressed with his sugar- the University of Alberta has created a tradition loaded bag of goodies. called Trick or Eat, the Campus Food Bank’s “He has reached the age where he is capable most important fundraiser of the year. Univer- of making his own choices. He did go out last sity students dress up and go door to door col- year, but he tired of it very quickly. He got a bit lecting donations. Trick or Eat has generated of candy and came home,” she says. 40 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 40. The Comprehensive Tissue Centre provides up to 1,500 tissue grafts annually from less than 100 donors. It needs more donors, so more lives can be saved Life After By Katherine Fawcett | PhotograPhy by KELLy rEDINgEr 42 Death Fall 2008
  • 41. G reg Walsof doesn’t know it, but he’s Within a month of being placed on the emer- tion of transplant tissues. Formerly operated as the a hero. In 2003, the father of two gency list, two corneas became available through Firefighter’s Skin Bank and the Lions Eye Bank, was fighting serious depression. He the Comprehensive Tissue Centre (CTC) at the the two branches amalgamated and became a refused treatment for his illness. University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. full-service tissue bank in 1996. The CTC is He gave up on life’s pleasures. And just before As soon as her transplant surgery was complete, also one of the few agencies in Canada licensed Christmas, he gave up on life itself. Walsof ’s the pain went away and she was able to see again. to distribute heart valves for transplant, a tissue wife, Stephanie Ostrander, and their children, Unfortunately, those corneas did not thrive in her that is in critically short supply. Today it works aged three and six, were devastated. But even in body. More surgeries, more complications later, in conjunction with the Human Organ Procure- her shock, Ostrander knew one thing: if there Holmes is once again on the waiting list after los- ment and Exchange (HOPE) Program. With a was a way her husband’s death could bring some ing her vision in both eyes for the second time. budget of $1.4 million per year, the CTC pro- benefit to another living person, he would want Her mother, Suzanna, tries to stay positive. vides between 1,000 and 1,500 tissue grafts that. The couple had discussed organ and tissue “She’s 21 now,” she says. “She’s studying busi- annually from an average of 90 donors. donation after a close family friend who nearly ness at the U of A. She’s very bright, plays three Mike Bentley, the CTC’s patient care man- died of liver disease was saved by a donor. When instruments. She’s not putting her life on hold. ager of transplant services, says it’s very gratify- the police arrived, Ostrander told the officers of “As a parent, you wish it could be different. I’d ing work. “We know that what we do ultimately her husband’s wishes. give her my eyes if I could – in a heartbeat. It’s benefits people,” he says. “It motivates us to do Jayden Holmes* is still waiting for her hero. frustrating, feeling so powerless. Her doctors feel our best work and be sure we get as many healthy Six and a half years ago, she contracted para- powerless too. You wonder, why does life have to tissues as possible.” sitic infections in both eyes, causing her to lose be this hard? Especially when there is a solution.” Bentley’s staff of 20 runs the gamut: they are her vision. Her life became one of excruciating The bridge to the solution is the CTC. It oper- educators, biologists, detectives and grief coun- pain, continuous medications and complete ates as part of transplant services for the AHS- sellors. They consult with the family when darkness. She missed most of Grade 9 and was Capital Health region, a national centre for the someone has died, take them through the con- unable to keep up her active lifestyle. procurement and processing, storage and distribu- sent process and then proceed with recovery and A GIFT OF BONE: CTC tissue specialist setting up for bone processing Fall 2008 43
  • 42. NEW DIGS: A CTC tissue specialist at work in the brand new Class 100 Clean Rooms, the only ones of their kind in Canada Curling for a Cause Andrea Vavrek was only 25 years old when her life was cut short in a tragic car accident in January 2007. It is of small but not insignificant consolation to her family that, through organ and tissue donation, Vavrek’s body was used to ease the suffering of two dozen people. Last spring, Andrea’s father, Larry, organized the first annual Andrea Vavrek Bonspiel for HOPE in her memory. He was inspired by the good that came from the donation of her tissues and organs to children and adults alike. “We decided we had to do something, to raise money and awareness. We’ve always been a curling family. So I said ‘I’m gonna put together a bonspiel.’” The second fundraiser is set for November 21- 23 in Sexsmith. Instead of prizes, participants will receive tax receipts for money that is donated to HOPE. “It’s a win-win situation,” says Vavrek. “You get the receipt to claim on your taxes, the charity gets the cash and everybody has a great time.” For more information, call 780-876-0999, or e-mail preparation for transplantation. They also pro- site. Currently, CTC tissue specialists use oper- card is not enough. It is important to discuss vide donor families with support as needed. “We ating theatres at the U of A Hospital. However, your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation tell the families what tissues we were able to use,” Bentley says the centre’s most urgent goal is to try with your loved ones as they are the ones dealing he says. “We facilitate anonymous letter-writing to increase the number of people who choose to with medical staff in the event of a tragedy. Trans- between donors and recipients.” become donors. plantation starts at home, with families sitting Corneas are often in short supply. The fragile According to CTC educator Erik Williams, down together, talking about and recording their eye tissue can be easily damaged or scratched. Canada has one of the lowest donation rates of wishes. He says that people don’t want to dis- To be suitable for a transplant, the cornea must all industrialized nations. “We’re in a critical cuss death, and medical staff may be reluctant be removed from the donor’s body within hours shortage of tissues for transplants,” says Wil- to bring the issue up when someone has recently of death. In the Edmonton area, the wait for a liams. “Europe and the U.S. are ahead of us. passed away. When you tell your family what sight-restoring cornea transplant may be as long Spain has a program of mandatory considera- your wishes are, it helps them make a decision as four years. Donor heart valves are also in high tion where you can opt out of being an organ/ based on what you would have wanted and will demand. They must be dissected from whole tissue donor but, unless otherwise specified, you often be a great comfort to them, not to mention hearts and are transplanted to people with heart are automatically in.” to the more than 4,000 people in Canada and defects. Skin can be used for burn victims. Bone The Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act 500 in Alberta currently waiting for life-saving and tendons are often used for joint mobility res- is designed to help facilitate and support organ organ transplants. There are many more waiting toration and bone repair in reconstructive surger- and tissue donation in Alberta. It states that any- for tissue transplants. ies for trauma and cancer patients. one who dies in a hospital is a potential donor, “We’ve got to shape up and talk about it,” The CTC also has a living donor program. and the doctor can give the family the choice to says Stephanie Ostrander. It was too late to use Patients scheduled for hip replacement surgery proceed or not. If the body does not have a trans- her husband’s organs but the CTC ensured that may offer to donate bone that would other- ferrable disease, doctors will refer subjects to the useful parts of Walsof’s body were either pre- wise be discarded. That bone can often be used HOPE or the CTC, and the family will become served or sent immediately to surgeons for use by another patient in need. Women scheduled involved in the donor process. The act passed in in patients who had been waiting for a donor. for C-sections may be able to donate placenta; 2006 but has not yet become law. Bentley is opti- Tissues from Walsof ’s body went to approxi- CTC’s tissue specialists can dissect away the mistic the act will mean more donors, shorter mately 80 people, including a severe burn victim, amniotic membrane, which can be used for waiting lists and fewer people suffering and dying a blind grandfather and an infant with a heart sight-saving eye surgeries. Bentley is very excited because they can’t get the transplants they need. condition. about the CTC’s three new “Class 100 Clean “I think it will make a difference because it will “Greg saved an 18-month-old’s life,” says Rooms” – the only ones in Western Canada. encourage physicians to seriously consider organ Ostrander. “When I talk to people about being These rooms are highly sterile environments that and tissue donation as an important part of end- organ and tissue donors, that should be all I have allow for on-site processing of bones and tendons of-life care,” he says. to say.” without risk of contamination. On Bentley’s In the meantime, Williams says that signing wish list is a recovery suite for retrieving tissues on the back of your Alberta Health Care Insurance *Name has been changed 44 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 43. It’s Your Choice Attention Amputees: The chief complaint we hear Alberta. Seven of these are located north of Red Deer. from clients who eventually find their way to our facility Typing “AADL prosthetics vendor list” into a Google is, “Why didn’t I hear about you sooner?” Did you search brings you to the government’s Alberta Aids to know there are a number of prosthetic providers in Daily Living website listing all approved vendors. Alberta from whom to choose your care? In northern AADL/Alberta Blue Cross is the primary payer in the Alberta, the publicly funded rehabilitation hospital is province. The list is arranged alphabetically and by strongly represented in the hospitals where amputation location. All facilities, whether public or free-standing, surgeries occur. The rehabilitation hospital is equipped adhere to the same fee schedules. with a number of beds, so new amputees, and those with multiple amputations or complications, are directed to Either by telephone or, where possible, in person, an the public facility to convalesce. This process frees up amputee should interview the prosthetist/s who will be beds at the surgical hospitals. When there are no beds making the prosthesis. We recommend interviewing a available at the rehab hospital, however, otherwise minimum of three facilities. The amputee/prosthetist healthy amputees are sent home (where they receive relationship will be ongoing; therefore, you want to wound care by trained nursing staff—a service available ensure that you communicate well, that you are listened to all Albertans) to wait until a bed becomes available. to, treated with respect, encouraged to resume your daily This delay is inexcusable, unnecessary, and in violation activities, and supported in many ways beyond the of health policy in Alberta. Capital Health makes an mechanical device. The prosthetist should be educated, effort to inform the public of choice. The message, accredited by the Canadian Board for Certification, and however, seems to get lost in the paper/people adminis- should keep abreast of new technologies as they become trative shuffle. available. The facility should be clean, wheelchair acces- sible, and have parking designated for the disabled. The We encourage amputees who require the services of the staff should be friendly, interested, and helpful. public facility to take advantage of those services. In situations where an amputation is pending (usually One of the best sources for finding out about prosthetic related to disease or infection versus a life-threatening care is to speak with other amputees. Many of our accident or bacteria), the patient will have time to take clients are willing to do this. Just give us a call. Also, the charge of his or her rehabilitation. There are a number of AASRA organization at is a wealth of amputees who do not wish to return to a hospital setting information. We encourage you not to settle for a partial and who are physically able to remain at home. These list of facilities. Ensure that you, as the key member of amputees should avail themselves of the skilled commu- the rehabilitation team, are the one who makes the nity prosthetist. We advocate that those facing amputa- decisions concerning where you go and who your tion, those newly amputated, or those who may be dissat- provider will be. You may have lost your limb, but you isfied with current services explore their options. There have not lost your mind or your free will. are 20 free-standing prosthetic facilities throughout Amputation or complication from disease or trauma? Let education and experience work for you! Pre-surgical consultations Accessible, effective service Free parking Stan Wlodarczyk, BPE Certified Prosthetist (Canada & US) Fellow, American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists
  • 44. By the Numbers Boost Give Yourself a With the autumn drop in temperatures comes a tide of dripping noses and a heat wave generated by fevered foreheads. By Halloween, influenza has come a-calling in many Alberta households. Why open the door to it? AHS-Capital Health will once again be hosting drop-in clinics for influ- enza immunization in October, at specific community sites throughout the Edmonton area. The service is free for children under two; seniors or resi- dents of continuing care, lodges, or other chronic care facilities; pregnant women; and adults and children with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes. But if you’re still unsure, check out these sobering facts: 1 to 7 The incubation period (the time between infection and symptoms) for the pandemic days virus is estimated to be one to three days, 40 to 50 with a range of one to seven days Gastrointestinal manifestations, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, are found in %40 to 50% of patients, but mainly in young children 24 The infectious period (when people can spread the virus) typically starts 24 hours before the hours symptoms appear. It continues for three to five 38º to days after onset of clinical illness in adults and ºC 40 up to seven days in children Fever usually runs in the 38˚C to 40˚C range and a second spike in fever may occur around the fourth day of illness. Backache, sore throat, burning, 8 to 13 watery eyes and nosebleeds may be present Children and elderly patients generally have high concentrations of the virus in their secre- days tions, and may continue spreading the virus for SOURCE: ALBERTA HEALTH & WELLNESS longer periods of time (eight to 13 days) 3 to 4 Three or four times a century, a radical change will occur in the genetic material of the influenza virus ºC and a new subtype appears. Because the new sub- 39.5 times Young children usually develop higher temper- type is a different strain, the worldwide population atures (frequently over 39.5˚C) and may have becomes vulnerable to epidemics, or pandemics, febrile seizures. A variety of central nervous with high rates of illness and death system manifestations may appear in as many as 20% of infants 46 Fall 2008 AHS-Capital Health’s Your Health magazine
  • 45. So O ld ut Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be In Charge Speaking of Women’s Health Conference October 4, 2008 at the Shaw Conference Centre Hosted by the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, this conference promises to be an exciting and entertaining day of more than 800 women who want to focus on building a healthier foundation for themselves and their families. The conference will give attendees access to information, tips and resources to help them take positive steps to improve their health and well-being. It will also raise funds for the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and another non-profit group serving women in the region. Thank you to all our sponsors and partners that have made this conference possible. NATIONAL SPONSORS FEATURED SPONSORS CONTRIBUTING SPONSORS Edmonton Cardiology Consultants Halkier + Dutton Strategic Design ® R ® Elite Sportswear & Awards Ltd. Petroleum Ltd. The Area Rug Gallery Blu’s MEDIA SPONSORS BMO Bank of Montreal Cura Physical Therapies Reid Built Homes Sun Life Financial The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald Display Design ®
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