Tag Archives: heart

Harrison’s Lungs and Heart are Alive and Well for Kitsap County – They Care

Following is a response in part, from Joyce Belnap, RRT, and Supervisor of the

Respiratory Therapy Department at Harrison Medical Center in response to my blog post.


Lung patients in Kitsap County are in good hands – thank you for your response, Joyce .. …you are a breath saver.


“I received a copy of your email regarding our march Better Breathers.

Thank you for your feedback and insight.

I want you to know that we really enjoy having you at our meetings.  Your

presence and enthusiasm adds an extra light to the meeting.  I am especially

sad that we disappointed you in March and I  will take your suggestions and

implement them for April.   I will take your suggestions and implement them for April.

Soon after volunteering for Better Breathers, I was offered the position as the

new RT Supervisor, and along with my manager I have many goals to improve

care for the people in our community who suffer with respiratory conditions.

It will take time to accomplish all of our goals, and then replace them with new

goals for continued improvement.  Because of your input I will set a goal to

begin increasing our marketing for our April meeting.   Because of an extremely

high hospital census of respiratory patients currently, I will set my goal to begin

April 5th.

For our meeting times, I will personally stay through 3pm for anyone who may

come in later, past our speakers presentations.   Our speakers are volunteers from

other jobs and departments, and I don’t know that they will be able stay late for

that purpose, but I can certainly stay and pass on the education and answer questions,

for those with who have unexpected schedule changes.    I would be happy to do that.

I really enjoy my time with this, which is why I volunteered.

Thank you for being such a great voice and advocate for individuals

who are living, and suffering with chronic respiratory conditions.

Your passion is refreshing.

If you wish, please feel free to respond directly to me, with any more questions

or concerns.  I look forward to your future insight and input.

Joyce Belnap, RRT


Respiratory Therapy Department


More later… Sharon O’Hara

Olympic College Nursing Program Treats 2010 – Meet Charlene and Amber

I can’t let 2010 slip away without showing a few photos about one of my 2010 highlights – the joined Harrison Medical Center and Olympic College RN Nursing program.

I had the privilege of being a senior /patient type for two charming OC nursing students who paid weekly, two hour visits to my home during the fall quarter.

The nursing/patient/senior program is super and I was lucky they had room to fit me into the program.  I knew it would be a fun experience and I agreed when my oldest granddaughter said no shot was involved.  All that was needed is a real person and/or family.

I will do almost anything to help medical students progress, thought it would be interesting, and knew it would be fun.

What I didn’t expect was the growing attachment I felt toward these girls and know that great things are ahead for them and their patients.  May love and best wishes follow them always as they touch other lives as they have mine.

The Harrison Medical Center and Olympic College Nursing partnership is an awesome success if the two nursing students I met weekly for fall quarter 2010 is an example.

Charlene Engelland and Amber are opposites in personalities but joined in their intense dedication to learning medicine and patients.

Both are personable, funny, and professional in manner and appearance.  I looked forward to every visit and enjoyed learning along with them and from them.

They took turns checking, among other things, temperature, pulse, blood pressure and I learned there is a pulse on the upper foot between the big and adjoining toe.  All these years have gone by and I never knew there was a pulse there.

Charlene, left and Amber, right…

My photo editing skills aren’t there…sorry…

Charlene’s shoes were made for dancing…. too bad I’ve misplaced the edited version of this photo (uncluttered it)

Charlene’s live patient test for one of Harrison Medical Center’s finest RN/instructor, Mary.  Mary works in my favorite area, the “M” department..

Thank you,  Ladies, for a wonderful experience!… Sharon

Btw:  Another highlight of 2010 is the miracle birth and life of our latest great-grandson.  I call him the Lucky Little Prince because in the old days he would have died.  He was born with medical issues – his heart.  He not only survived, he is thriving after complicated heart surgeries after his birth.

The Lucky Little Prince’s mom works at Harrison Medical Center full time, taking classes to be an RN.  Proud daddy, our youngest grandson, works around high rises.

Happy New Year Everyone!

More later… Sharon O’Hara

Lymphedema Post Script 2010: Meet John Mulligan, RMT/CLT-LANA


Following is some basic information I wish I had known years ago.  Meet John.  Following is his response to my email asking if he had anything to add to an article he wrote in 2007.  The url is at the end and his comments are fresh this morning, Thursday, 30 December 2010.

“ …  I had a look at your blog of December 22 and you raise an important question: when is lymphedema not lymphedema?

There are two kinds of lymphedema; primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema is something you are born with and secondary is something you acquire. One common cause of secondary lymphedema is the surgical removal of lymph nodes due to cancer.

How can we differentiate lymphedema from other types of swelling? Lymphedema, whether primary or secondary, usually occurs in one limb. The foot or hand of that limb is often involved. If both legs or arms are swelling they are usually different from one another; one is “worse” than the other.

If lower extremity (leg) edema is bilateral (occurring on both sides) and symmetrical (same on both sides) and the feet are involved it is more likely to be edema than lymphedema. This swelling can be caused by pulmonary edema or congestive heart conditions. It is a backing up of fluid throughout the system, so to speak. If there are ulcers occurring as well it is more likely that venous insufficiency is part of the picture, where the blood flow from the legs back to the heart is not working properly. If cardiac or pulmonary insufficiency is part of the problem then compression bandaging could make things worse.

If the problem is chronic venous insufficiency then the bandaging and compression garments will help the ulcers to heal and will help the muscle pump in the calf return the blood supply to the heart properly.

With a wider awareness of lymphedema comes the question of accurate diagnosis. A simple hallmark of lymphedema diagnosis, especially in the legs, is the Stemmer sign; can you pick up the skin of one of your toes with two fingers, pinching the skin? If you cannot then it is more likely that you have lymphedema; if you can pick up a fold of skin on your toe, it is less likely to be lymphedema. Please keep in mind that this is a simple clinical test and not foolproof.

It is important to understand that swollen legs or feet that are associated with COPD are more likely to be something other than lymphedema. A complicating factor is that sometimes these conditions can stress the lymphatic system, causing a mixed lymphedema.

Please see this web page for some information on differential diagnosis of lymphedema:


John Mulligan, RMT/CLT-LANA: Lymphedema Therapy, Education & Consulting

T: (905-687-1828| F: (905) 687-8224 | John@LymphedemaTherapist.com


More later… Sharon O’Hara

The Strange Ways of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a strange medical condition usually requiring a CPAP OR BIPAP machine to draw in room air through filters into a hose attached to the facemask we have harnessed to our head. The facemask confines the air and pushes it through the open airway into happy air gulping lungs. The machine lets us sleep.

The latest and greatest news first is that a small clinical study showed the CPAP machine might help the heart function better in sleep apnea patients. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ASE/tb/14658

What did the study indicate about the BIPAP patients? That is a good question to ask Harrison Medical Center’s lead Sleep Specialist, Daniel Moore, at the next AWAKE sleep support group meeting on the 17th…

Another study shows something amazing to me…

In an eight-year study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the moderate to severe sleep apnea patients appear more likely to die from any cause, regardless of age, gender, race, weight, smoking history, or other medical conditions…

“… It is still unknown whether treating sleep apnea reduces risk of death and cardiovascular disease. …

(SHHS) enrolled more than 6,000 men and women ages 40 years and older at multiple centers around the U.S. to determine cardiovascular and other consequences of sleep-disordered breathing…. researchers found similar relationships between sleep apnea and deaths related to coronary artery disease.

They also found an association between the lack of oxygen that results when patients with sleep apnea momentarily stop breathing and all-cause mortality. But they found no relationship between mortality and waking due to apnea….

…the researchers cautioned that the study had several limitations. …might have introduced some bias into the study…. they noted that this study was the largest of its kind to date…. carefully collecting data on sleep, breathing abnormalities, and a wide range of other health factors….

…”Given the high and likely increasing prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in the general population, additional research in the form of randomized clinical trials should be undertaken to assess if treatment can reduce premature mortality associated with this common and chronic disorder,” the authors wrote.”
The authors are Dr. Naresh M. Punjabi and co-investigator, David M Rapoport.

Punjabi N, et al “Sleep-disordered breathing and mortality: A prospective cohort study” PLoS Med 2009; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000132.


More later… Sharon O’Hara