Tag Archives: Poulsbo

Does a tumor mean cancer? Part 4 of 4 Harrison Home Health

Does a tumor mean cancer?  Part 4 of 4

Harrison Home Health nurses.

My surgeon, Dr. Urban, assistant professor at the University of Washington Medical Center and surgeon at Seattle Cancer Alliance gave me a choice – Martha & Mary in Poulsbo or be home with Harrison Home Health.  Much as I enjoyed my four-week stay at M & M’s a few months ago, I wanted to go home – even if I had to learn wet to dry wound wraps and do my own wound changes.

Luckily, I got Harrison Home Health.  That meant every three days a nurse came to the house to change out the wound wraps and check on the vac inside belly tube and stuffing.  The following photos will show better than I can explain, what they do – Bless them. 

Meet Karl…whose expert, experienced hands and manner quickly put me at ease and set the tone I found with Harrison Home Care nurses.  They were all different, uniform in their professionalism and competence, yet cheery and friendly.

The V.A.C.Therapy  System is like a small sump pump that you wear or carry close by.  The tube tether is just long enough and runs from the closed, suctioned  wound to the empty container connected to the pump.  The first night home the alarm went off – the container was full a day or two early.   I called the Harrison Home Health (HHH) emergency number and tried not to panic describing the problem.  Minutes later a nurse called back, but by then I have changed it out myself – thanks Gretchen!

Above is the old dressing.  Following are the steps Karl and the other Harrison Home Health nurses took to clean up and change out the wound.


The sponge cut to fit, placed inside the wound, and taped down.

The seal secure, cutting the membrane allows the suction tubing to fit in the wound


Time to seal the wound

Ready for the vac tube

Tube in place, machine turned on, and the vac proved good suction and connection.  The suction held and the excess fluid began its flow out of my belly and into the tube.  The VAC  tube, suction and good nursing care made the wound heal properly from the inside out.

Lisa, RN, MSN

Kris Feldon, LPN

Danny – one of HHH treasures and the only one I had the pleasure of meeting before.  Danny is a stellar nurse who tried to help with my lymphedema wrap.  Danny had even met me at Dr. Halligan’s office in the Doctor’s Clinic in Silverdale to learn how the doctor wanted my leg wrapped.  As it happened, my husband who learned to wrap from Melissa and did a great job, finally decided he would continue wrapping and Danny was freed up to help another patient.  Going the extra step, Dr. Halligan and Danny are extraordinary in their patient involvement.

One of Harrison’s shy nurses allowed me to photograph her helping hands at work.  I am using this photo of her hands showing the white strips the professionals removed each visit because the day came, (4 July) when the suction failed and eventually that evening, I was told the nurse on call would come out or I could try to fix it myself.  I opted to try to fix it myself.  By phone the nurse gave me several options to try to get the suction restored.  The supplies were here so it was only a matter of taking the materials upstairs to the bathroom mirror and applying the tape seals until I got a tight seal and reestablished the seal unit and tube to the V.A.C.

Pursed Lip Breathing (PLB) works when you need it.  The white strips across the clear material would not budge when I tried to remove them and had to stay until the HHH nurse came again to clean and change out the wrap.

Almost closed!

The face of the wound healing V.A.C.

These petite staples held the upper part of the wound in place and stayed intact until it healed and the staples  removed.

Paul, HHH rehab physical therapist showing me different ways to work out using things I already have.  He lifts weights for a hobby.

Paul and his counterpart were terrific in that each brought a new idea to the table.  Paul’s partner had me keenly aware I’d let my left leg and foot straddle out to the side instead of straight ahead and we worked on it.  She was terrific.  I didn’t get a chance to ask for her photo because she went on vacation and I didn’t see her again!

M, the occupational therapist,  wouldn’t let me photograph her and wouldn’t be interviewed for one of her big wins this year, winning the 2012 Cancer Society Barrel Racing Championship with one of her horses!  M is a professional barrel racer in her spare time – super fit, horses and herself.

HHH has amazing people dedicated to helping others who need them….and glad I had the opportunity to meet some of them.

One nurse I have not mentioned is someone who had me laughing so hard I grabbed my staples so they could not pop out.

Harrison Home Health nurses are a Godsend to those who unable to get out…patients heal in the best of company.

Knock; knock … Harrison Home Health calling….

Thanks for listening.  Takk for Alt!   Sharon O’Hara

Dr. Halligan, Harrison Medical Center, Lymphedema Update – Part 3 of 3

Thanks to four weeks at Harrison Medical Center Bremerton, Dr. Halligan, Doctor’s Clinic Silverdale and Martha & Mary Rehab Center in Poulsbo and my husband, Chuck, the latest annoying, painful Lymphedema outbreak is almost healed.

I hope with continued use of support stockings, I will never again see the open, painful weeping sores running down my lower legs.

Ignoring edema can lead to nasty painful Lymphedema outbreaks – not a place to go, folks – listen to your doctor.

The last two Lymphedema lesions might have healed months ago had not RLS or whatever the problem is, not raised havoc then and now forcing me to stand and move – the direct opposite of what I needed to do.

Following is Lymphedema By the Month Photos – from September 2011  to date.

And to think – it all started with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease after a forty year smoking history.

Thanks for reading…Sharon O’Hara

Dr. Halligan and Harrison Medical Center Angels, Part 2 of 3

Our recent tragic killings and deaths make me doubly grateful for the incredible people and treatment I received from our hometown hospital and staff at Harrison Medical Center.

Those of us who have been patients there over a length of time know Harrison’s greatest assets are in their staff.  Their nurses and aides, many named Elizabeth and one each named Joseph and DanielJoseph is notable for nursing skills and his uncanny ability to find anything….even a bridge….as in my missing two-tooth bridge.  He found it in a little container with “?” on the lid.

Nurse Elizabeth on 3N is only one example of innovative, creative thinking.    


Look at the contraption she put together to take the pressure off the bottom of my left calf to lessen the pain of the open weepy lesions and help it heal faster. The devise worked so well that when I was shifted down a floor they wheeled me downstairs right on the bed.

Nurse Sylvia on 3N brought me the Kitsap Sun newspaper every morning she worked.  I always knew she was on shift when I awoke and spotted the Sun on my bedside tray.  When I was moved to the private room on two – her spirit lifting thoughtful placing of the Kitsap Sun on the bedside table continued and never failed to make me grin in thanks.

A complication was the UW positive testing for MRSA.  You do not want it – hospital visitors do not want you to have MRSA either.  Gowning up and wearing rubber gloves to visit a friend in the hospital might well cut down on regular hospital visits.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/DS00735  

Dr. Halligan, Doctor’s Clinic in Silverdale, treated my leg daily in the hospital…he never failed to continue his daily treatment and re-wrapping of my lower left leg. 

(I am hoping to go home tomorrow from rehab at Martha & Mary’s Rehab Center in Poulsbo.  I have not been home in 8 weeks).

More later.

Thanks for reading…. Sharon O’Hara

West Sound Cycling Club Saturday’s Ride

As a lung patient and physically challenged person I'm an avid fan of the 
recumbent trike for good health, safe exercise, fun and cycling in general. 

That said, I volunteered to sub publicity for our local club, 
West Sound Cycling, while Charlie Michel the regular publicity person 
is out of town doing a long cycling tour.  I am late sending information 
about the club's weekly Saturday (tomorrow)  ride.  

So I'm announcing it here in the wrong place for strictly sports but the 
right place for folks who want to ride with a congenial group of neat people.  


"   Jim Llewellyn will be leading this Saturday's ride starting at 9 am
from The St. Charles Anglican Church in Poulsbo.  The route will
cross over the Hood Canal Bridge to the Toandos Peninsula and back

 Jim can be reached at 206-450-0101 or at jim.llewellyn47@gmail.com  

 Daylight savings time has come and now spring is here.  Time to get
out those bikes and ride.  Mark your calendars for the April 10th
Daffodil classic.  There will also be Tuesday evening rides available
starting in Brownsville.  Consult your club website calendar for
other riding opportunities.

Note:  Bill, Mandy and Leo are working on rider certification through
LAB and plan to be offering classes soon.  If you have an interest in
becoming certified in the 101 or advanced program or teaching these
classes, please contact one of them or myself and I will get you the
contact information. "
More later... Sharon O'Hara

Sarcoidosis Caused by Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease?

The faces of Sarcoidosis patients, caregivers and friends are varied and range the emotion gamut from intense concentration to learn new things and adding to a great sense of humor and feeling of camaraderie within the group.

When we finally found where we needed to be, the Old Guy grabbed a wheelchair to move us at a fast clip.  We went in the furthest distance entrance from the Mt. St. Helen’s room at Good Sam hospital in Puyallup – it seemed a good ten mile walk inside that huge hospital.  They need Yellow Brick arrows painted on the floors or walls to guide folks around between the old hospital and the new hospital.

I knew the meeting was on gluten free food but didn’t connect that it is thought that gluten might cause Sarcoidosis among other things.  I was shocked to discover that there is a medical condition called Celiac Disease caused by gluten intolerance and perhaps causing Sarcoidosis and a whole range of other things that might be cleared up just by changing what we eat.

The speaker, Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN CEN of Corvallis, Oregon was an ER nurse for 16 years and by the time she was 40 years old – in November 2006 she was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Nadine thought she would be dead in six months or less.  She is a dynamic speaker and her presence alone states a good case for our investigation.

A few high points are that standard medical testing doesn’t work.   “Celiac disease occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.  The proteins in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats cause an inflammatory auto-immune response that can and does affect every organ system in the body.  If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to lymphoma, bowel cancers and much, much more.”

“Think it doesn’t affect you, your family and friends?  Think again.”


This morning I did a Gluten Free Google search and found an article May 2010 in the North Kitsap Herald by Leila Arciero about a newly opened Gluten Free Bakery and Market in Poulsbo!

Martha Hofmann, Michelle Hofmann and Lisa Garza living gluten-free with limited access for proper food decided to open their own store and share their hard earned knowledge and food to others in the same gluten-free boat.

http://blogs.pnwlocalnews.com/glutenfreefoodies/ http://www.yourglutenfreebakery.com/

According to the article, Lisa Garza has Celiac disease, runs the Gluten Free Foodies blog and hosts a monthly gluten-free and food sensitivity support group.   The problem is the Celiac disease body is unable to process the gluten and protein found in wheat, barley and rye.


Rain storm on the way to Puyallup…I care about rain photos because of Kitsap Frames topic this week.

Meet Lynn Short…the head honcho and patient who knows more about Sarcoidosis stuff in Washington State…maybe the entire Pacific Northwest than almost anyone or so it seems to me.   Lynn Short, Sarcoidosis Networking, is a wonder of organization and determination and almost singlehandedly with her husband makes Sarcoidosis information available to anyone.  She is a human library of Sarcoid information and believes in educating the patient.  She has been doing it for years and puts out a great informational newsletter.

(253) 826-7737   www.sarcoidosisnetwork.org

Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN CEN – (541) 602-1065 – Nadine@GlutenFreeRN.com www.GluutenFreeRN.com

Dani Martin – her expression I’m sure mirrored mine and everybody else at that meeting.  I’ve seldom gotten so much information at any meeting – surprising and shocking for the most part.  Dani works at the Pierce County Health Department.

Dani Martin   –     Linda Fulghun

Kenny Harelson

Beverly Proby – Islamah Rashid

…not another picture…when I asked for just one more…had to get it right…thank goodness for digital and a good sport!

Kai MarQuis – Jeff Smith

Reina Heck

To everyone, thank you for letting me take so many pictures until I had the right one.  I’m getting my eyes checked next month…

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

A Chance to Vote for Poulsbo

As a person with lung disease forced to ride in traffic spewing poisonous toxins and inhaling it, I care about clean air and safe places to ride my recumbent trike.

In my opinion, if we don’t provide safe, useful cycling, walking paths for our people, our people will gradually spiral into a people not moving far from the TV or computer and aging with multiple ailments costing us far more in health care than the original cost of the needed trails.

To those who don’t think vehicle exhaust is dangerous to health, would you stand next to the exhaust of a running car in a closed area?

Thanks to Linda Berry-Maraist, an alert city council woman in Poulsbo, it’s not too late for us to weigh in on the survey. www.cityofpoulsbo.com

Thanks also to our alert and fast moving West Sound Bike club members…

More later… Sharon O’Hara

> From: Linda Berry-Maraist
> Subject: Survey closing Wed: Fjord Drive Trail
> Hi Trail committee,
> I just returned from vacation and discovered that there has been a
survey on the City website, asking whether we should keep Fjord.
drive one way (from 6th to Hostmark) and make the other lane a bike
trail/path or restore Fjord as it was. The City Council is scheduled
to vote on this tomorrow (Wed) and I believe the decision will be
largely based on the responses to this survey.Currently slightly more
people favor returning Fjord to 2-way, which would preclude the
potential bike/ped. trail.
> I hope you will consider taking the survey www.cityofpoulsbo.com ,
coming to the Council meeting at 7:30 or sending an email (link on
website). I am very concerned that the timing of this decision,
before the trail plan is even presented, will make the potential
extension of the Liberty Bay trail bike route south from downtown,
far less likely.
> The good news I heard today is that it looks like the City’s grant
proposal to do the engineering for the waterfront trail extension to
Fish Park, has cleared the big hurdle, received a high score in the
grant process and is likely to be approved for funding in September!
> Linda
> Linda Berry-Maraist, City Council Position 1, City of Poulsbo

Sleep Apnea BiPap/CPap Distilled Water Clog Lungs? Update


My husband called the KCHD this morning. They recommended Twiss Analytical Incorporated in Poulsbo as the only company in our area to analyze water. My husband called and left a message.
Later Tom Maziarz of Twiss returned the call and I explained my concerns. Tom brought up a couple of points where contamination could have occurred.

• Filters
• The inside of the distilled water container itself might not have been sterilized
• Distilled water does not mean sterilized water

According to the company who services the BiPap, the filter hasn’t been changed enough.

When the BiPap/CPap is turned on the air from the room is carried from the room air through the filter into the short hose from the machine to the water humidifier then out the tubing the facemask for the Sleep Apnea patient to inhale.

If the filters are clogged with dust and debris, that is carried into the patient’s lungs.

I did not change filters until I saw dirt on the white filter…sometimes a couple months from the last filter change and did not order anything unless I needed it. Regards the filter, I had to see visible dirt before replacing it. Yes, Medicare paid for it, but thrifty taxpayers don’t get what isn’t needed. In six or seven years, this humidifier is only the second.
I poured the remaining humidifier water into the boiled and sterilized glass jar (lid too) as Mr. Maziarz suggested and Chuck drove the items to Poulsbo for testing.

Am I overreacting to the strange white blobs in water I inhale? Maybe.
I’ll have the preliminary results Friday…

More later… Sharon O’Hara