Monthly Archives: July 2017

Combatting Compassion Fatigue in the Opioid Epidemic

This is the patient’s 8th admission over the course of two weeks. The patient is a heroin abuser and has bacteremia and endocarditis. Their heart valve is failing and they are in and out of congestive heart failure. Everyday dozens of medical professionals converge on the patient to give treatment and advice. And everyday after hearing that advice the patient leaves the hospital against medical advice and goes to use IV drugs. They wind up back in the hospital out of fear or panic, or they are brought back in after overdosing by the police. The cycle continues.
In this common daily scenario, it is very easy as a provider to lose hope. We are everyday doing our absolute best to treat patients who many times, do not want or refuse our help. In the throws of their addiction, these patients are focused only on the next high- regardless if that costs them their lives.
So at the bedside, how do you maintain your own well being and sanity? At our core, we all went into this field to help people. Drug addiction is a challenging disease, but it is a disease. Not a moral failing. Not a choice. Treating addiction just as we would any other disease is the first step in the process. It can be very hard to separate our emotions and personal biases from our work with these patients, but we must. Focusing on what is best for that patient in that moment is the only thing that matters.
Easier said than done, right? Compassion fatigue and burnout are real daily issues at our jobs. We are not going to save every patient, people are going to die. All we can do is our best to treat each patient as an individual with kindness and compassion, as well as excellent medical care. And at the end of the day, that’s it.
Don’t take the stress of treating patients home with you, leave it at the door and know you did everything you could. In order for us to remain excellent providers and not flame out we need to prioritize our own mental and emotional health.
You do not want to let feelings of overwhelming stress keep building up unchecked- so what can you do?
1. Talk it out with your colleagues
2. Delegate- ask for help from your colleagues when you need it
3. Practice meditation and self reflection
4. Do some yoga and exercise- do whatever you love doing that helps you cope with the stress of this job
5. Take time off when you need it
6. Be okay with saying “no”
7. Get more involved- sometimes being part of the solution, in this case like volunteering at a drug rehab center or helping improve access to addiction resources, can restore the meaning to your daily work
But above all know that there are so many of us out there right now going through the same thing- if we are open and honest about our struggles as providers we can get through them together.

Bootcamp

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Got the shit kicked out of us today in the best way possible!
Robbie and I went to a bootcamp style circuit workout class up at Englewood metro park. Here are the deets:
What it is: Kevin Manning HEAT summer bootcamp
What it entails: rooted in plyometrics, the classes go through short bursts of high intensity exercise. Classes are outside if the weather is permitting., which is great because being outdoors is always better.
Who can go: anyone- you can go for one class only or go regularly. The exercises can be modified to suit your fitness level.
Why I like it: it’s hard! It’s a great high calorie burning, strength building workout. The circuit style means you get a lot of variety and work every muscle in the body. The atmosphere was also very positive and everyone was rooting for each other.

Tremendous Trampolines

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It is definitively possible to have the best workout of your life… on a trampoline. My good friend MiLinda Zabramba introduced me to the indoor trampoline park SkyZone because her kids “love to bounce”. When we went there together her girls were just filled with adorable energy jumping around and having fun. But I loved it too! Jumping as high as I could, flying high in the air, reminded me of being a kid again. When we were kids we actually had a trampoline and would jump out of the second story windows of our house onto it (DON’T do that!!!!!). How we didn’t break our necks I’ll never know.
So SkyZone has a trampoline aerobics class. Holy shit. I mean really. It was the best and honestly most fun workout I have done in my life. Jumping up and down, side to side, on your butt, doing intermittent arm and core exercises all while burning a ton of calories…I have found my new workout ideal!!! It is a whole body HIIT style workout. Needless to say I am hooked! I look forward to going back next week and getting my ass handed to me by the goofy and intensely in shape teenager Bobby that taught the class.
I will say this- it is not a workout you should attempt if you aren’t in shape. Especially if you have any kind of knee issues, this workout is too intense- so start low impact and build up to it!

Reflections

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Today is a rainy day that makes for a perfect time for reflection. As I look back on my own personal journey and my struggle with obesity, I am comforted by the fact that we are all capable of change. Our community in Dayton Ohio is in the middle of an opiate addiction crisis the likes of which we have not seen before, but at our core the Dayton community is strong. Those that are grappling with drug addiction are our families, our friends, and our neighbors. I find that when I think about our similarities instead of our differences, it is easy to summon up compassion for their plight. Each and every one of us has an area in our life which is an affliction or a hardship for us. Trying to find the common ground between us instead of stigmatizing and pushing away drug abusers, will help us to strengthen the humanity and empathy this community was founded on. I personally am a living, breathing example of how any change is possible, and I remain optimistic that together we can overcome our struggles- no matter what they may be. We all go through periods of darkness in our lives, but that does not mean we cannot come back into the light.
Thank you to everyone in Dayton and elsewhere for your support. I am so grateful to have a voice in this community.

Squash, snow pea, green bean and farrow mason jar salad

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So I decided to take that delicious and nutritious salad recipe as a base from the Marley Spoon one I had and tweak it. I used farrow which has a higher protein content and added some more veggies, as well as changing up the dressing a little bit as well. It is super yummy and healthy!

Ingredients- makes four servings

1/2 cup dry farrow, cook per package directions. I like farrow because it is high in protein and has a good texture.

Mix of veggies to sauté- squash, snow peas, green beans (about 1 cup of each). Slice squash into rounds.

shredded carrots, 1 cup

2 ounces goat cheese

1/4 cup almonds

spinach- about 4 cups

dressing: to make dressing combine in bowl and whisk- one to two tablespoons olive oil (to your personal taste and consistency), juice from one lemon and zest from the lemon, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic minced.

To prepare:

Sautee in 1 tablespoon olive oil the squash for 2 minutes each side. Add snow peas and green beans and sautée about 2 more minutes, until just softening.

Build the salad in the jar, from the bottom to the top:

2 tablespoons dressing

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup of each sautéed veggie

1/4 of the cooked farrow

1/16 cup chopped almonds

1 cup spinach

1/2 ounce goat cheese

To eat dump into a bowl and mix together and enjoy!

approximate nutrition info:

316 calories per serving

11 G protein, 34 G carbs, 16 G fat

 

 

How I am Losing Weight and Getting Healthy

I get a lot of questions about what specifically I have done to lose weight and get fit… I’m going to write up a few pieces to give the details

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This one is about nutrition, first in the series
Getting started:
At the start of this journey in August 2016) when I topped out at 275 lbs I estimate I was eating 3000-3500 calories per day.
Most of that was at the end of the day and a large portion of that was snacks.
At that time my metabolism was slower than a tortoise, and I would often go 10-12 hours at work all day without eating.
I would binge eat when I got home usually shoveling in some animal crackers or chips while getting dinner together.
Dinner itself was fairly often take out from Q’Doba (nachos), Taco Bell (nachos and bean burritos), pasta (Fazolis or homemade), restaurant size salads with bread (Doubledays), pizza (Dewey’s or Papa John’s) or just going out to eat at any number of places around town.
You see what isn’t on that list? Fresh home cooked food full of fresh veggies and fruits and whole grains and nuts and beans.
So the very first thing I did was to cut back on snacks- eating one bag of animal crackers instead of two for instance. I also started to watch my portion sizes- eating a single portion or at most two portions instead of 2-3 routinely. And I started to make sure I was drinking at least 80 ounces of water per day.
With just these changes, no other diet, no exercise I lost the first 20 pounds. It was losing that first weight that made me realize I could do it and I needed to step up my game!

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