Tag Archives: health

Dear Kitsap County Commissioner’s – a Coordinated Trail System and the Physically Challenged

Dear Kitsap County Commissioners:

As a physically challenged person and cycling fan, I am writing in support of the Kitsap County Non-motorized Trails Coordinator and our need of one person to coordinate the entire trail system.  The present hodge podgy fingers in the same pie method are not working.  We need one person to oversee the entire trails plan for our county and no interest other than that.    Nothing else makes sense.

We need to fully fund the creation of this position and have it directly under the Commission as planned.

A planned trail system throughout our county would bring tourists here in droves – more importantly, it would be a massive boost to our own citizens – all of us.

Only a small portion of citizens uses the huge taxpayer outlay of funds you approved for the Howe Farm off Lead Dog Park in South Kitsap yet we all paid.   All Kitsap County citizens would benefit from the balanced and planned trail system overseen by a coordinator.

I am learning how to get around as a physically challenged person.  The hand cycle recumbent trike is useful because the bone on bone left hip causes too much pain pedaling a regular recumbent trike.  I am not yet able to pedal a regular recumbent trike.

The physically challenged in this county NEED the kind of trail system one coordinator would put together as one piece.  Our service men and women are coming home, many of them, with physical challenges the trail system would help address.

The timing is now for the future of our county in an ever-increasing awareness that physically fit and active people live healthier lives.

Let us turn Kitsap County from being an unsafe place to be into a safe place for the NMT fans and the best place to go.

One coordinator would have one job and that is the trails – no special interest would cloud the picture.   I am guessing the cost to put in that one dog park was far greater than the cost of a trails coordinator benefiting all.

Respectfully,

Sharon O’Hara

Now all I need is find a large flat area to practice and someone to give me a lesson or two and get it road ready with a headlight and stuff.  This hand trike turns by leaning the handlebars and post over to whichever direction you want to go..really neat.

Malin’s first ride on a recumbent trike tadpole… they’re not just for the physically challenged.

Please contact our KC County Commissioner’s if you understand the need for one coordinator to oversee the project.  Contact them if you don’t understand and thank them for doing a difficult job.  We live in a superb county – let’s make it work better.  Please.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Cannabis Linked To Psychosis – Not Good Health

I voted yes for the use of marijuana for medical purposes in our state – unknowing Federal law still made it illegal.  Today I would vote a resounding NO – not in a cigarette form anyway – not as long as we have a Federal law against it and now because of the following article connecting cannabis use to psychosis.

I know people smoke pot but not around me.  I might have tried it at a young age but it wasn’t around then and later, when it was hitting the Kitsap schools my children attended I was too busy and no one I knew smoked it.  The subject didn’t come up.

Let me be clear:  I don’t care what people do with their own lives.  I smoked 40 years and understand the connection and addiction to drugs.

Trouble is all these years later I’ve got health issues that seem to stem directly from my own 40 year smoking addiction and have gathered opinions about it to share here such as….get educated about it first.

If one is going to smoke, use cannabis and other illegal drugs, then learn about them, study all you can find out about them – then from the basis of full  knowledge what you might be getting into long term – make your decision.  It is your decision, not mine.  Just get educated about it.  And that is why I’ve posted the following new information here.

………………………………….

Cannabis Link To Psychosis

A new study has provided the first conclusive evidence that cannabis use significantly hastens the onset of psychotic illnesses during the critical years of brain development – with possible life-long consequences.

The first ever meta-analysis of more than 20,000 patients shows that smoking cannabis is associated with an earlier onset of psychotic illness by up to 2.7 years.

The analysis, by an international team including Dr Matthew Large, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Psychiatry and Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, is published in the prestigious journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

In partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the study set out to establish the extent to which use of cannabis, alcohol and other psychoactive substances affects the age at onset of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia with 33.5% of the population reporting use at some time, according to the 2007 National Drug Household Survey. Some 18% of all secondary school students aged 12-17 reported using the drug at some time in their life, according to the 2004 Secondary School Survey. (UNSW’s National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre.)

Building on several decades of research, the finding is an important breakthrough in the understanding of the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis, Dr Large said.

A number of previous studies have found an association between psychosis and the use of cannabis, alcohol and other psychoactive substances. However, the aim of this study was to specifically show the extent to which this is caused by cannabis use alone, he said.

The current findings support the view that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, perhaps through an interaction between genetic and environmental disorders or by disrupting brain development, the team notes.

“The study re-analysed the results from 20,000 patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic illnesses from 83 previous studies. The study used meta-analysis – a modern statistical method – to show that an earlier onset of severe mental illness among substance users is a result of cannabis use, and cannot be explained by other factors such as alcohol use,” Dr Large said.

“Results of this study are conclusive and clarify previously conflicting evidence of a relationship between cannabis use and the earlier onset of a psychotic illness, with evidence supporting the theory that cannabis use plays a causal role in the development of psychosis in some patients.”

Dr Large said there was a high prevalence of substance use among individuals treated in mental health settings, and patients with schizophrenia were more likely to use substances than members of the wider community.

“The study raises the question of whether those substance users would still have gone on to develop psychosis a few years later.

“However, even if the onset of psychosis were inevitable, an extra two or three years of psychosis-free functioning could allow many patients to achieve important developmental milestones of late adolescence and early adulthood that could lower long-term disability arising from psychotic disorders,” Dr Large said.

“The results of this study confirm the need for an ongoing public health warning about the potentially harmful effects of cannabis.”

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215998.php

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

COPD, Professor William MacNee Clicked for this COPDer

FLASH

Ref:  Early detection public COPD Spirometry,  World Spirometry Day and World COPD Day

I called our health district yesterday and spoke with  Cris Craig, Kitsap County Health District Public Information Officer.  She couldn’t answer my question about the health department offering free spirometry to the public.  She did say in a cheerful voice she would call in about three weeks with a response.  THAT is good news and she didn’t ask what COPD was – even better..  A hopeful sign and may mean that Spirometry will be offered and made available to the public.  I believe in miracles.

Professor William MacNee and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Scotland, UK website has superb graphics – the best explanation of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) I’ve seen in one place.  His ‘The Latest Trends in COPD Research’ graphically shows why early detection Spirometry is important.

For many of us COPD is an ongoing magnet for other disease, including some really difficult stuff.  COPD and lung disease can be the beginning of a long list of personal medical challenges expanding the patient’s medical disease library.  Whatever needs to happen to avoid COPD in your life get tested for early detection and do whatever is needed to get it done.

My son, Al and I were visiting family in Northern Norway  in1997.  I didn’t know then my 40 year smoking habit was almost over.  And so was I.   I was beginning to feel sick.  The day after this picture was taken, I had to see a Norwegian doctor.  She examined me and prescribed medications for Pleurisy and Chronic Bronchitis.  The medication worked, the pain receded and we were back on schedule.   Within a couple weeks after this picture was taken and five days after returning home, I was in the hospital.

Life as I’d known it was over.

COPD is a friendly disease.  For me, once Emphysema (COPD) got settled in my lungs and got comfortable, she began to invite her Other Stuff Disease buddies for a sleep over.  Trouble is, they stayed over and didn’t go home.  They joined COPD trying to play Havoc with my health and life.

Following COPD was an open lung biopsy and Sarcoidosis – Sleep Apnea – RLS – Psoriasis – Venous Stasis Dermatitis  – Cellulitis – High Blood Pressure – Lymphedema – and  bone-on-bone Arthritis, left hip followed – to name a few.

Early detection Spirometry can stop COPD early – before it’s too late.  Ask your doctor.

This is where it gets tricky.  Health care is a huge problem.  COPD generally  takes twenty years developing before a person mentions symptoms to the doctor and by then about fifty percent of the lungs are destroyed….leading the patient to a long slow smother and the taxpayer choking form the cost.

Offering free Spirometry testing for early COPD detection gives the individual  warning.  If the problem is not genetic, it can be turned around. Telling isn’t enough – SHOW people what COPD can do to them and their families.  Let them meet willing patients who can show and tell… a real reality show.

Exercise works and muscle utilizes oxygen better than flab.  We can breathe better and move easier.  Exercise and understanding COPD gives us a quality of life back – to be the best we can be.  The recumbent trike takes us places we couldn’t easily go without one – fun stuff,  building muscle at the same time. We must keep moving … ask your doctor.

I did not qualify for lung reduction surgery or I would have opted to get it ..not enough good lung and I heard rave reviews from patients who had had one.  One COPDer told me the lung reduction surgery restored his life back to ‘normal’ and lasted about five years before time and COPD danced ahead.  Ask your doctor about it.

Pursed lip breathing training is a must for COPDers – it keeps us out of the panic mode and out of the hospital.  It has for me…and I tested it with my oximeter.Talk to your doctor about pulmonary rehab.  It is never too late to get better through our own efforts…what does your doctor say?

Photo taken by the photographer who traveled with the Trek.  This photo shows me on my recumbent trike flying the  COPD/EFFORTS safety flag and pedaling over Deception Pass with the American Lung Association of Washington’s three day bike ride – the Trek Tri Island.

It was the first time I had been away overnight from my house in seven years – since Harrison Hospital in 1997.  A slow trike rider, it is thanks to the wonderful volunteers who hop scotched me and my trike ahead of the other 200 plus bike riders time after time that enabled me to pedal 50 miles of the 137 mile trip. I felt free again.

Key motivators were the Shortness of Breath Study at the University of Washington Medical Center that I was lucky enough to qualify for and my online support group, EFFORTS.  Proof to me that  educating COPD patients work.

Stroke patient, Mary Griffith and her butterfly and gold star fingernails caught my eye the other day – more about Mary and husband, Doug later)

Kitsap County Health District … Will you be the first county health district in the nation to see the fiscal benefit of early detection Spirometry to protect citizens of ALL ethnic background.

The Kitsap County taxpayer and COPD future could rest in your hands.

Thank you Professor William MacNee for a great COPD informational website and allowing me to use it here.

http://www.efanet.org/activities/documents/WMcNeeLatestTrendsinCOPDResearch. pdf

More later… Sharon O’Hara

Part 4 of 4

Bremerton and Navy Success and the West Sound Cycling Club Booth Photos

The new downtown Bremerton IS beautiful… but right now she is similar to a pretty girl all dressed up and no place to go.

We need more Health and Safety Fairs and next time run Kitsap Transit buses to bring people in to the event. We also need passenger boats and Kitsap Transit to bring people in from the outlying districts.

The new Bremerton is a dream place for the possibilities of ultimate luxury healthy living…if a person can imagine walking and cycling pathways throughout Bremerton downtown and meandering through the neighborhoods.

See what Steven Gardner wrote about the folks in the Union Hill neighborhood transforming itself.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/peninsular-thinking/2010/08/24/union-hill-bremerton-neighborhoods-place-branding/

Imagine the new lovely downtown expanding itself outward block by block with neighborhood walking and cycling pathways providing walking and cycling transportation and healthier citizens….just imagine the tax payer dollar savings in future medical costs through healthier people due to the energetic outdoor living lifestyle.

The walking and cycling pathways would cross the new Manette Bridge into the homey and interesting Manette neighborhood and shops to browse.

When Port Orchard/South Kitsap gets their walking cycling pathways, they will be a splendid place to cycle and visitors can cross by the little ferry or around through Gorst.

The following photographs were taken by Chuck O’Hara (he is the nice guy who helps me out) at the recent Health and Safety Fair when he took two recumbent trikes down to the West Sound Cycling Club booth for a few hours to show n tells.

West Sound Cycling at the Bremerton Navy Health and Safety Fair.

More later… Sharon O’Hara

Recumbent Trikes and Good Health Hand in Hand

The recumbent trike is God’s gift to the physically challenged.

The 3-day Trek Tri Island bike trip with the American Lung Association of Washington a few years ago was the first time I had left the house overnight in 7 years. Not since COPD and then Other Stuff began to hit.  Pedaling around the bay from the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry toward Oak Harbor was the first time in 7 years I felt normal again. The recumbent trike set me free.

The Mason county couple in the “What is COPD” tee, ride for good health,  fun and exercise. 

Hey, Trikes are Fun!


He doesn’t let Hip Dysplasia in both hips stop him from moving but at a much slower pace than his wife. His wife is a fast walker challenging herself to move even faster.

Until he began riding the recumbent trike delta, (two wheels in back), she had to move slowly, at her husband’s pace or he quickly was left behind.

I was told the recumbent trike gives him the edges to not only keep up with her; he challenges her to move those hips even faster. The recumbent trike lets them exercise together for good health in fun and harmony.

I took a video of them…unedited…so you can see how they ride.

A family affair… the gentleman on the delta is only 92.

Following are more photos. My mother’s first time on a bike in about 75 years when she learned to ride the delta at 88 years old.

Ask your doctor about riding the recumbent trike for exercise and fun adding to living a quality life and follow her/his recommendations. Check with the local bike shops and bike clubs for further information or ask here on COPD and Other Stuff.

For COPDers – muscle utilizes oxygen better than flab and the legs are the largest muscles in the body. The bike is a great form of exercise and the recumbent trike can be a kinder, gentler form of cycling…the comfort mode…or not.

The West Sound Bike Club may have two recumbent trikes to show on the 18th. One trike is a delta with an electric assist. The other is a tadpole. Swing by the booth and check them out.

WEST SOUND CYCLING CLUB AUG, 2010
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
PRESIDENT Lee Derror 360 271-4838
lderror2@yahoo.com
VICE PRESIDENT Don Czeczok 360 405-1834
dczeczok@wavecable.com
TREASURER Laurie Clayton
SECRETARY Roberta Berry 360 638-1685
beeryra@centurytel.net
RIDE COORDINATOR Tim Baker 360 340-5944
rides@westsoundcycling.com
bakertj@hotmail.com
Freewheeler: Frank Lane 253 857-6044
editor@westsoundcycling.com

Tour de Kitsap: tdk@westsoundcycling.com
WSCC website: www.westsoundcycling.com

Wed. 8/18 11:00am – 6:00pm – Thurs. 8/19/2010 0800 – 2:00pm

West Sound Safety and Health Expo 2010 Free!

Kitsap Conference Center & Bremerton Boardwalk
100 Washington Avenue
Bremerton, WA 98337
Contact: Linda Fulton 360.473.5918

LOCAL BIKE SHOPS

More than one of the following bike shops may sell and service trikes.

BI Cycle Shop 206-842-6413
Classic Cycle 206-842-9191
Kitsap Key and Bike Shop 360-373-6133
Olympic Bike and Skate 360-895-2127
One Way Down Biking 360-633-6649
Rainier Cycle Sports 253-756-2117
Silverdale Cyclery 360-692-5508 (Sells and services trikes)

Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle
The free clinic will start at 6:30pm and go until around 7:30pm. There will be light refreshments provided.
info@greggscycles.com or call (206) 523-1822 ext. 119

The following URL contains the most cycling URL information of any blog I’ve seen.

http://www.recumbentblog.com/ Scroll down on the right until you find Dealers.

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

Will Employee Health Incentives Work? Should They?

Chris Henry is writing a story of health, businesses and employees.
I could not stop myself from responding and decided my thoughts from my present patient standpoint and past small business owner belonged here too.

The fact is patients are not given enough information in my opinion.

Chris Henry, reporter says: “We all know what we should do to take better care of ourselves — eat healthier, exercise more, reduce stress (good luck on that last one). Employee wellness programs aim to get workers practicing better self care, but are they actually effective?”

Sharon, patient says:
If the velvet gloves are removed and employees are SHOWN (get patient volunteers) examples of life with different medical conditions caused by -smoking is one example- I’d guess a good percent of the present or wannabe employees might well change personal habits to reflect self preservation and to keep a good job.

If I had a small business today and included paid medical insurance for my employees, I would have a checklist for prospective employees to answer and incentives for present employees to get in the fitness lineup.

Blunt words and visual frankness works.

Years ago a good friend and 30 year smoker read a Reader’s Digest article showing photos of healthy lungs next to a chronic smoker lungs.
My friend told me he felt sickened and stopped smoking immediately.
He also showed me the article, yet I went on to smoke another 20 years or so.

Obesity is a despised condition by seemingly everyone, yet the productivity of an obese person can be double the effectiveness to the business of a ‘normal’ sized person.

I once had someone tell me I needed to get rid of one of my employees because her appearance did not reflect well on my business.

Why not?

She was fat…way fat…obese…truly a genuine tubbyette.

I told him I could not. For one thing, I liked her and she had worked for and with me too many years, since she finished school. She had also become the most productive employee I had.

The day came when she asked for another raise. She was at capacity. She was well worth a raise, no issue there.
The trouble is the way my pay scale worked I couldn’t give her one without losing money.

Therefore, to give her a well-deserved raise, I figured out new prices to her clients and I became a business with two price tiers and cost percentages within the tiers.

The reason for this little story is twofold.

1. Look beyond appearances.

2. Knowing what I know today about health issues, I would never have hired her based on her unhealthy size and lost out on getting to know a remarkable, artistically talented, kind, thoughtful individual. She became family.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/kitsap-caucus/2010/05/18/employee-wellness-programs-do-they-work/

More later…Sharon O’Hara

Thanksgiving 2009 and Hope

It is Thanksgiving and I write here, off topic, in heartfelt gratitude.

Plants and people, life and death, disease and health…seem interrelated.

I once had a bamboo flower and lose all its leaves. Even knowing it had to be dead, I could not compost it. I moved the pot and the bare, dead looking sticks to another spot in the yard. I kept an eye on it and occasionally watered it. Years later, it is thriving in- ground along the driveway.

Patience and never giving up works for plants, people too. Not always.

Other bamboo and different plants I cared about have appeared dead and, left alone, came back. Not all.

The splendid Magnolia grandiflora my parents gave me to plant in memory of Norman, my little brother… came back to life after three years of looking dead in the PT garden where it was transplanted.

The gardener, who helped mom in her yard, dug the tree up from their yard, bundled the roots and drove the distance to transplant it into my newly designated, Norm’s Memory Garden.

I had the pick-ax ready as he dug the planting hole and soon heard the ring of his shovel hitting the native hard clay and rock…about 18” down.

I handed David the pick and asked him to loosen the hardpan soil to mix with the enriched topsoil of the garden bed and the rich soil around the tree’s large roots from the fertile ground of its old home.

He reluctantly did as I asked. As a brand new master gardener from the Kitsap County Master Gardener course, I learned of a new world of soils, plants, environment and came to understand, love and appreciate bugs and their vital work in our world.

Time after time David swung the ax over his head into the hard ground. Finally, he had the depth and width suitable for the large roots to reach out into its new home and I was satisfied.

David mixed the soils with the native soil and carefully moved the tree into place. He filled the hole and watered the soil in.

Norm’s memory tree was now at home in the middle of the south bed closest to the house. It was beautiful and I envisioned it would one-day tower over and shade the upper deck.

Norm’s Magnolia grandiflora tree became a focal point as I worked around the property or glanced out a window.

I watched as the beautiful magnolia began to fail, the huge leathery green leaves gradually withered and fell. Norm’s tree began to look dead.

Taking the WSU Master Gardener course, I knew the big trees were not easy transplants but still, I left it alone and waited.

Day after day, month after month, then year after year I watched and waited.

Three years after the transplant, Norm’s memory tree began to form fresh new leaves. The healthy, shiny, thick, huge leaves gained in strength and abundance another year or two until she was splendid in her beauty and began to grow.

Fast forward to now…

The little bulbs were outside in a small pot. Brought inside, the soil dried into dust around and through the girded dry roots. The bulbs dried until the little mass was feather light. I lifted the little bundle into a small white dish to keep until…

Yesterday, I saw the green of new growth and inspired by it, wrote this letter to my son and his beautiful, spiritual new wife.

Life Peeks from Dust
Life Peeks from Dust

Dear Son and Bride….
New buds spring from the dead and troubled stocks of yesterday.
Sprouting from unnourished, dry and withered bulbs, the tiny sprouts grow strong as they form from the old as if to say.
HERE I AM, YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!
Today is a renewed spirit, fresh and ready to write in the smooth sand of a new beginning.
Light, joy and laughter does not come easy, but it comes steadily just as sand flows endlessly through the bottomless hourglass of God’s light. Along the way, the flowing sand moves over the rough bumps until they are nothing.

Light, joy, love and laughter… a new dawn, a new day, a new begin.
God works in mysterious ways and darned if I can figure it out but I do not have to…. I am just grateful He does not give up.

Bless you…
Love… Mom Sharon – Thanksgiving, 26 November 2009
(My son lovingly cared for his grandmother at home, with hospice, until she passed)

More later… Sharon O’Hara

Does Oxygen Take a Bad Rap?

Patients have a vested, personal interest in taking charge of their own health.
Our doctors help us medically but they cannot teach us how to live with whatever we have.
They cannot tell us to ignore shortness of breath – to exercise through it to achieve a quality of life we can feel slipping away.

Active, forward, informative patient support groups can and do inform and educate to give us the choice between living a quality life and just existing.

I am not on oxygen, but many lung patients are. The following is taken verbatim from the online support and advocacy group that taught what no one else was teaching – what COPD patients can do to help ourselves.

I have permission to use the following…

Mark Mangus, RRT and active educator on EFFORTS (www.emphysema.net) is one RRT who thinks outside the box.
(Harrison Medical Center has one to tell you about another time)

The following comments are on oxygen use.

Mark is responding to Tommie, an oxygen patient commenting on a previous post from Mark:
.
… they can be up to date on most everything else and still be misinformed on this matter.

It took years to become what it is today…it will take years to reverse and eliminate it…. this myth pervades across several professional lines, so it is a multi-focal,multi-front problem…

Mark W. Mangus, Sr., BSRC, RRT, RPFT, FAARC
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Coordinator
Christus Santa Rosa, Medical Center
San Antonio, TX
mark.mangus@christushealth.org

Responses reflect my positions and opinions alone and do not necessarily represent the positions or opinions of Christus Santa Rosa Health Care.

Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 3:09 PM
To: EFFORTS@EFFORTSLIST.ORG
Subject: [EFFORTS] Old School Thinking

Mark’s quote:

“But, they are likely stuck in the school of those who still believe that using too much oxygen can decrease your drive to breathe and cause you to stop breathing – - – the “myth” I’ve discussed so many times over the years.”

****
> I had my PCP tell me this very thing last Thursday! That if I turn my 02 up too high, my body would think I had too much 02 and my brain would send a signal telling it not to breathe!!
I had always thought he was very up to date … I’ve also had 02 suppliers say the same thing.
Too bad, we can’t get rid of this “old school thinking”. …
If your PCP has told you the same thing, please discuss this with him/her.

Thank you EFFORTS, Mark, Tommie.
Sharon O’Hara