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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

7 Heart Attack Signs Doctors and Women Often Miss

Only because it can't be repeated enough, and maybe there is something here that wasn't said before, I'm passing along this article my brother found on the Internet.

Heart Attack Signs Doctors Often Miss

Conventional wisdom has it that heart attacks come out of the blue. We're also trained to expect a heart attack to happen a certain way; the victim clutches his chest, writhes in pain, and collapses. But for women, it often doesn't happen that way. Study after study shows heart attacks and heart disease are under-diagnosed in women, with the explanation being that they didn't have symptoms.

But research shows that's not the case. Women who've had heart attacks realize, looking back, that they experienced significant symptoms -- they just didn't recognize them as such.

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 95 percent of women (that's almost all!) who'd had heart attacks reported experiencing symptoms that were decidedly new or different from their previous experience a month or more before their attacks.

Even when a heart attack is occurring, women are often slow to realize what's happening and call a doctor. The reason? Women's heart attack symptoms are different than men's. This failure to recognize heart attack signs in women has led to a grim statistic: women are more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than men are, and two thirds of women who have a heart attack don't recover completely.

To prevent a heart attack from sneaking up on you, watch for these 7 little-known signs of heart attack:

1. Fatigue. More than 70 percent of women in the NIH study reported extreme fatigue in the month or months prior to their heart attacks. This was not just your run-of-the-mill tiredness -- the kind you can power through -- this was an overwhelming fatigue that sidelined them from their usual schedules for a few days at a time.

2. Sleeplessness or Insomnia. Despite their fatigue, women who've had heart attacks remember experiencing unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month before their heart attacks.

3. Anxiety and Stress. Stress has long been known to up the risk of heart attack. But what women report is the emotional experience; before their heart attacks they felt anxious, stressed, and keyed up, noticeably more than usual. Moments before or during a heart attack, many women report a feeling they describe as "impending doom;" they're aware that something's drastically wrong and they can't cope, but they're not sure what's going on.

4. Indigestion or Nausea. Stomach pain, intestinal cramps, nausea, and digestive disruptions are another sign reported by women heart attack patients. Become familiar with your own digestive habits, and pay attention when anything seems out of whack. Note especially if your system seems upset and you haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary.

5. Shortness of Breath. Of the women in the NIH study, more than 40 percent remembered experiencing this symptom. One of the comments the women made is that they noticed they couldn't catch their breath while walking up the stairs or doing other daily tasks.

6. Flu-Like Symptoms. Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling lightheaded and weak, can lead women to wonder if they have the flu when, in fact, they're having a heart attack.

7. Jaw, Ear, Neck, or Shoulder Pain. While pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is a common sign of heart attack (at least, among men), women often don't experience the pain this way. Instead, many women say they felt pain and a sensation of tightness running along their jaw and down the neck, and sometimes up to the ear, as well. The pain may extend down to the shoulder and arm -- particularly on the left side -- or it may feel like a backache or pulled muscle in the neck and back.

In addition to the symptoms they do have, women differ from men in another significant way -- they may not experience many of the symptoms we traditionally associate with heart attacks. This, experts say, is a major reason why women's heart attacks go unrecognized and untreated. Almost half of all women in the NIH study felt no chest pain, even during the heart attack itself. Numbness is another symptom women may not experience, experts say.

How to protect yourself or the women you care about? If your body is doing unusual things and you just don't feel "right," don't wait.Go see your doctor and ask for a thorough work-up. And if you have any risk factors for cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or family history of heart disease, mention these to the doctor. Time is of the essence, so don't count on medical staff to know your background or read your chart -- tell them your risk factors right away, so your condition can be evaluated fully and completely.

The Geranium Farm is up for nonmination again on divine caroline website for it's "Love This Site" Awards. We'd love to have your vote!
You have to be registered at this website to vote but I think you'll find it's really worth checking it out:

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

St. James Student Picnic

Here's some pictures from one of the Monday night student picnics at St. James we attended when we were there.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life in Lawn Tractor - or Not

Over the weekend Paul went to mow the lawn and lifted the hood of the lawn tractor as he always does to blow out any excess grass that may have accumulated in there. This time he saw not only an excess of grass but four pink little squirming bodies. There was no way easy to get to them. No, it wasn't just lifting off that grid on top. He called up the company to find out what to do. There was more to it. He got out his tools and proceeded to loosen some bolts. He walked away for a few minutes and when he came back they were all gone!! Apparently, mom was around somewhere, knew what was going on, and moved them all to a new home.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Barbara and Richard's Last Sunday at St.James

Click here to see St.James posting of Farewell pictures:

and at the end of the service we sang . . .

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

"Happy Trails" by Dale Evans Rogers

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Views Overlooking Florence

After we left San Miniato we drove down a bit just below to this overlook. Check out these addition views of the city and the Arno River. For more about the Arno River go here:

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Monday, August 24, 2009

San Miniato - Florence, Italy

In Barbara's August 16, 2009 eMo - Bringing It All Back Home she mentioned San Miniato. Above are some pictures taken by my brother and myself, one evening when Barbara and Q took us up there to see the church, hear the monks sing, and see the beautiful overlook of the city. It was one of our favorite things from the trip.
(Click on either picture to take a closer look.)

To see more views of inside the church go here:

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Tell Me Why - Declan Galbraith

(Thanks to HP reader Terry W. for sending this along.)

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home at Last!

I got home on Tuesday and have been resting quite a bit. I had the cardiac catheterization on Monday which didn't totally go without a hitch as I woke up at 4am with my stomach hurting pre-op. When I opened my eyes the room was spinning and then you kinda know what follows! I was given a shot in the arm to calm my stomach. By the time morning rolled around my stomach was still feeling queasy and I was given IV meds to again settle it. My 10am slot was pushed to 4pm. I was allowed some ice chips and few crackers and that was it!
The procedure went well. I didn't need any stents. Still no blocked arteries and had even a lessening of any plaque that I had from the first time. My heart muscle is stronger than before - up 60% from 50%. The doc said what I have is called syndrome x.

Here's one article I found about it:

I have some changes in medication, no exercise for 2 weeks, and then will go back to cardiac rehab with all the oldsters! Meanwhile, I lost quite a bit of weight from Italy, the hospital, and even the trip to California but I don't think this was in such a good way but hopefully it will stay off and I'll just continue to lose with rehab and then be able to finally go back to the gym, which has been on hold all this time.
I am also going to be following up with my gastroenterologist as the pain I may have been experiencing could have been something gastro- say acid reflux. You see I had stress induced pain with the exertion of walking in the heat in Italy which I knew had to be checked out. I also had a different type of pain when I got off the plane and when I was at the hospital, but the heart had to be checked out first. My stomach was also taken into consideration and I was given meds for that too. The other pain felt kinda as if I had swallowed a piece of crusty bread and I could feel it scraping going down only the pain wasn't in my throat but in my chest. Anyway, I'll have it checked out too. So . . . that's the long and short of it. Now I know better what I have and how to deal with it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Home and Yet Not "Home"

Yes, I'm back in the states but not really home. I actually did make it home for one night in my very own bed.

Well, here's what's happened.....

We landed on Monday, August 10th around 2:30 in the afternoon and waited a bit to deplane. It got warm and on the walk to Customs I was feeling really lousy, partly just from having been up since 5 a.m. Florence time and then we were rushing to make each of our connections after our first train to Rome. Anyway, as I approached Customs I told my brother I really wasn't feeling well. My chest was hurting, I was very thirsty, and short of breath. I saw an agent and told him I wasn't feeling well, needed to sit down, and needed a drink. Security came right over. I was given a chair and water and I told them, "Yes, you need to call the EMT's. I feel I need to be checked out." So the long and short of it I was taken to a nearby hospital. I was not happy with that hospital and signed myself out A.M.A. and had Paul pick me up. I won't even go into the details. The next day I called my cardiologist's office and told them what was going on and they called me back and told me to get back to the hospital and go to the ER that my doc uses -
so here I am. I've had a bunch of tests and will have a cardio cath. on Monday. I was having some difficulties in Italy when I was walking around and needed to be checked out. (Not a word of this to my dad.)

I'm doing this from a connection the hospital has where a keyboard plugs into the TV channel changer. Sorry no pictures until I get home. Matt, the Web Dude will post this for me and send it out.

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