Are you in pain?

Everyday we are all busy.  Sometimes too busy to take notice of the messages our body is sending our mind.  We have all had that time when we have had an ache or injured ourselves and whilst we acknowledged the pain we, well, we just kept going.

The thing is, pain is a message (or a sign, if that’s what you are into) and we need to take notice of it.

Physical pain can be acute or chronic, as can psychological pain.

Acute pain is the type where you roll your ankle whilst running to collect something you forgot – and if you are a first-aider – you apply the RICE theory – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for a short while, depending on your patience level.  This pain can typically be managed with simple analgesia ie. paracetamol and ibuprofen – after the initial inflammation that was caused by the injury has settled, the pain subsides and you resume your normal activities.  Acute psychological pain might be experienced when people experience a situational crisis.  The immediate pain is managed through their ability to be resilient, they learn, grow and move on.

Whereas, chronic pain is longer lasting.  Just ask anyone who is waiting for a joint replacement (say a hip or knee) and they will tell you they have pain every day and they have worked out the actions that make their pain better or worse.  The ‘edge’ might be taken of this pain by the analgesia previously mentioned, but it is always there – sending a message to the brain to be mindful of the area. Like chronic physical pain, chronic psychological pain has the capacity to affect every part of a person’s wellbeing.  Again, there is a time of learning, but changes need to be made for long term management and growth.

Our mind and body work in such unison that it can sometimes be unclear where the physical pain ends and psychological pain starts.

Know that both acute and chronic physical and psychological pain has a purpose and is not to be ignored.

Trust that your mind-body connection is in play and be strong enough to use the opportunity to take action.

Could you be a Pyjama Angel?

As adults, we have a responsibility to protect our children.  It is like an unwritten rule of adulthood, really, isn’t it?  As is the belief that every child has the right to be loved, cared for and believed in? Nod, if you agree…..  While you are nodding, I want to tell you that:

This Friday is Pyjama Day and it is a fundraiser for the Pyjama Foundation.

Since 2004 the Pyjama Foundation has been all about positively impacting the lives of children in care.  The Foundation largely achieves this through a volunteer staffed, learning based mentoring arrangement, called The Love of Learning Program©.

Here’s what the Pyjama Foundation says about it:

The Love of Learning Program© was developed by The Pyjama Foundation to empower children in foster care with learning, life skills and confidence to change the direction of their lives.

The Love of Learning Program©, sees meticulously screened, trained and matched volunteers (aka Pyjama Angels) visit the same foster child for 1.5 hours each week.  Some of these relationships have spanned many years, bringing that feeling of being cared for and believed in for those children in care all the while, improving their literacy and numeracy! Double win.  This amazing program can only continue with the support of funding – enter Pyjama Day!

If you go to this link, you can see a clip of a young girl who was lucky enough to secure a Pyjama Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=3Tw3l7YajH0

Just two other points to note:

  • Foster carers – day after day, they tirelessly give their time and love and care.  The gifts that the carers also bring to children in care are remarkable.  A massive shout-out and thank you to every single foster carer!
  • There are approximately 43000 children in care in Australia (as per Pyjama Foundation’s website) – could you think about donating some time to this vulnerable group to become a Pyjama Angel or some money to make a donation??  If you were interested in finding out more, simply, go to http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com

While most of us take for granted our circle of security, there are so many children in care who need help to learn life skills and gain confidence.

It might be too late to do much advertising for Pyjama Day this Friday, but you could still get involved!!

  1. Go to http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com/nationalpyjamaday/ for all the details of registering your event.  (You can even do it on another day if you prefer to get more people on board!)
  2. Get your workplace to wear their night attire and bring a donation to the cause.
  3. After the day, count up your generous donations and go to https://donation.giveeasy.org/the-pyjama-foundation to put in your details of the donation – every little bit counts to help our children in care.

Thanks!

How much do you know about Diabetes?

This is a special week.  It’s National Diabetes Week – I know I have blogged about diabetes before, and as I think I said then, its a topic very close to my heart.  See featured image.

This isn’t me looking for sympathy, so far from that, but rather its one to get you talking about diabetes and perhaps understanding more of what its even about.

Diabetes Queensland have an excellent overview of what the day is all about here:  http://www.diabetesqld.org.au/get-involved/what’s-on/2016/july/national-diabetes-week.aspx

I can hear some people saying, how common is it anyway?  Diabetes Australia have these numbers on their website – 280 Australians develop diabetes everyday, ie. one person is diagnosed every 5 minutes.  Staggering, huh?

This includes the three main types – Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes, as described below by Diabetes Queensland:

Type 1 diabetes – is a life-long autoimmune condition that is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood but can occur at any age. 

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin.  As the body needs insulin to survive, people with type 1 diabetes must replace this insulin every day.   At present, insulin can only be given by injections or through a pump. Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately 85 to 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. The body still produces some insulin, but it may not be enough or work well enough to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range. 

 Type 2 diabetes can be treated with lifestyle modifications such as a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity but often medications such as tablets or insulin may also be required.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not be obvious. Tiredness, lethargy, thirst and blurred vision can often be put down to normal daily stresses, age, or general wear and tear. Getting people diagnosed early remains a key priority for Diabetes Queensland.

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy.  Between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. All women are checked for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy.

The good news is gestational diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born….For mothers, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, with a 30 to 50 per cent chance of developing it within 15 years after your pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk significantly.

While different in some ways, they are similar in that every ‘type’ of diabetes requires daily management and care.  This can be exhausting.

As the support person of someone with diabetes, it is always on my mind.  Can you imagine having to be so cautious of your every action and the impact it will potentially have on your blood glucose level??  Or, as a parent, trying to pre-empt the effect the food your child might (or might not) eat and dose the insulin accordingly?  Massive shout out to all the parents of children with Diabetes – you guys seriously should all be congratulated and celebrated frequently for what you do every single day!

Every time I read about advances in research – I get a little bit excited … and then feel disappointed because it won’t fix it in the short-term.  Until the breakthrough is made and widely available, we continue, supporting our loved ones in their ongoing management of their diabetes.

We must continue to recognise that the person with the diabetes is the most important person in their diabetes management team.  It is paramount we trust their instincts through our support of them.

I continue to remind myself that, yes, I’m a nurse, but I have to put my wife hat on and know I’m the second most important person in the diabetes management team.

As I have been typing this, I’ve realised, it is almost a tribute – well played if I do say so myself – people with diabetes deserve one – this goes out to all the people managing their diabetes (and their support people!)

This week especially, I ask you to talk to someone about Diabetes.

And have a great Diabetes week!!

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Diabetes Queensland

 

Self-care – (yes, again!)

Last week’s blog was about using the school holidays as a prompt for some self-care time especially aimed at Mums – you can read it here:(https://wellnessassistblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/attention-mums-go-on-take-a-break/

And since I’m currently lucky enough to be spending some time with my children, this week’s blog is going to be quite brief.  I’m just going to go on a little more about why self-care is so crucial to wellness (yes, again).

Self-care time (aka – practicing being good or kind to yourself) can be as simple as just looking at things from a different perspective and to realise that you are doing in an awesome job of life right now.  All too often we aren’t good to ourselves and then we expect others to be that way??  You know, this is what the definition of resilience (as per The Resilience Research Centre) – the ability to navigate and negotiate your resources in any given context.  To do this however, you need to recognise before you can navigate and negotiate!

You see sometimes, not only do we all need a pat on the back sometimes, we also need to perhaps remove yourself from a situation to see it for what it really is (of course, only when and where this is safe to do so)

I was talking to a dear friend of mine, just today and she perfectly reminded me that we all have our own battles.  When stop (ie. have some self-care time) we allow ourselves to see the battles from a different perspective.  Which subsequently makes constructing a preferred path clearer and more manageable.

You may think this sounds confusing, but it is just adding to my research and validating the belief that self-care is certainly a necessity of wellness, not a luxury.

That is all from me today!  Enjoy your week!