2012 - #1 for Women!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012
Mount Everest has captured the hopes as well as the lives of many mountaineers. Countless climbers have attempted to reach the summit at 29,029 feet above sea level, located in the “death zone,” where the oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life. The road to the top is speckled with the corpses of climbers who fell along the way.

Despite the risk, record numbers attempted to climb Mount Everest in 2006, lulled by favorable weather conditions for reaching the world’s highest peak. Illinois-born Daniel Mazur, one of these climbers, made perhaps the greatest sacrifice -- by turning around two hours from the summit in order to save the life of a stranger.

Lincoln Hall reached the summit on May 25 but began to have problems as he headed back down. A member of his team suddenly turned to his guide, said, “I’m dying,” and then fell lifeless to the snow. Shortly after, Hall became confused, started hallucinating, and then laid down and refused to move. After coaxing him for nine hours with no response, his Sherpa guides pronounced him dead, just another addition to the ten who had already perished there in that season alone.

The next morning, around 7:30 a.m., after climbing for eight hours with three others, Mazur came upon Hall sitting in the snow, perched on the North Ridge of the mountain, with a drop of 10,000 feet on one side and a 7,000 foot cliff on the other. The 50-year-old Australian was suffering from cerebral edema -- a brain swelling associated with altitude sickness, frostbite and dehydration, but, miraculously, he was alive.

Hall later described his experience to NBC: “I remember waking up with a start in the middle of the night -- I don't know what time in the night, pitch black -- way up high on Everest, and suddenly realizing that I’d blown it. I could feel the snow, but I couldn’t feel the snow, because my hands were freezing. I tried to feel my feet through my boots, and I could sense that they were going wooden, so I was actually freezing to the spot.”

The climber recalled, “I realized I was so close to dying I thought, ‘I can’t die. I’ve got to go back. I’ve got to. I’ve got to come back to the family.’” He added, “I told myself I had no option but to live.” Despite the lethal conditions, Hall did manage to stay alive through the night, and was able to speak somewhat deliriously to the team of mountaineers that hailed him the next morning.

It may seem that Mazur’s next step was the only logical decision. Yet hallucination is not the only type of insanity seen in the death zone. Just days before, a British man, David Sharp, had perished nearby; some 40 climbers admitted to seeing him stricken in the snow and passing by, leaving him to die without aid.

Mazur and his team, on the contrary, stayed with Hall for four hours in the subzero weather until a rescue team came. During those hours, two other climbers passed by. Mazur called to them for help, but they protested that they did not speak English and kept going. When the rescuers came, the entire party was forced to turn back from their goal, forgoing years of preparation and training, in order to save Hall. Mazur later reflected, “The summit is still there and we can go back. Lincoln only has one life."

Hall lost the tips of his fingers and a toe due to frostbite, but he returned alive to his wife and two sons. His practice of the virtue of hope morphed through his journey. His hope of reaching the top of Everest fueled his physical preparation and his rigorous climb to the summit. Yet it was a different type of hope that brought him back to his family, which sustained him through the long night after his strength, was gone. Once the climber reached his own limits, he had no choice but to hope in something greater, a power outside himself, which would save him from the death zone.

Last month we reflected on our own limits, and the virtue of honesty in admitting when we’ve had enough. The next step is to realize that, when we’ve reached the end of our strength, when we feel we just can’t reach our goal, we can hope for aid from someone or something greater than ourselves.

For Hall, that “something greater” was human compassion and charity, maybe even just common decency. He was forced to rely on the community of mountaineers, even though he must have known that the majority had abandoned a fellow climber only days before, to get him back to his family. In order to survive the night, he had to believe that there was someone caring who would be strong enough to aid him in his need.

This greater or higher power may also be equated with God; believing in a Being who cares about us and is strong enough to aid us in need, fosters this hope within us. Or, we may count on the strength of another group or community to help us when we are not able to help ourselves.

When we exercise the belief that we will receive the help we need from this “someone greater,” someone outside ourselves, we grow in this virtue of hope. When this hope is strong, it will sustain us through the dark night when we feel like we are in the death zone. Although we probably will not experience it in the form of mountain climbing, there may be moments in life where we feel a similar departure from sanity. We may realize that we are in trouble, that we too have “blown it.” In these moments we must look outside ourselves to someone greater, something higher even than Mount Everest, to save, restore and aid us.

Action items:
1. Ask for help today, from a family member, 
a coworker, or God.  

2. How many “mountain peaks” are you hoping to reach? Make a list of 10 goals, both immediate and long-term, that you are aiming for in life.

3. Take a moment to define your source of strength. Where do you go when you need help? God? Family? Money? Coffee?


Genevieve Pollock
M.S. Clinical Psychology
Monday, April 23, 2012
Amanda Ortman continues her 2012 Placement success with yet another placement.  Amanda was assigned the case of a 44-year old Operations Manager who was being managed by TRIUNE Health Group Nurse Case Manager, Jan McGowan.  Jan saw the appropriateness of the referral for Vocational Rehabilitation and advocated for the referral with the insurance carrier.  At the time of the Vocational referral, the Injured Worker (IW) was 6 years post a back injury.

Amanda met with the IW and assisted him with resume development, provided Job Seeking Skills Training (JSST), put together a rehabilitation plan and did job development on his behalf.  Amanda chose to meet with the IW on a weekly basis to help him stay focused and motivated.  The IW did not express a strong desire to participate in Job Placement, but did cooperate.

The file was open for approximately 4 months and had a total cost of around $8500.00.  The IW secured a position as a Construction Superintendant with a pay rate of $40.00 per hour.  No wage loss occurred in this case.

If you have a file and it appears that some focused energy will help to move it along consider a referral for Vocational Job Placement at TRIUNE Health Group.  We would be happy to help “push it” along.  We can be reached at 800/633-0884 or TRIUNEHG.com.
Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring is a glorious time for our senses: we feel the warmth of the sunny air, see the trees and flowers burst into bloom, smell the fragrance of daffodils and tulips, hear the birds singing, and taste everything with a heartier appetite. It would be such a tragedy for us to lose any one of these senses, and miss out on the joys of spring. Yet there are people walking among us that face life courageously without sight, hearing, or other abilities we often take for granted. 

Helen Keller was one of these people. She lost her sight and hearing due to an illness when she was 19 months old, and thus had a difficult childhood. Not only was she unable to see the beauty around her or hear the world outside herself, but she was unable to communicate her needs and desires. Essentially, she lived in solitary confinement, and the frustration and loneliness of her condition drove her even farther from her family.

The movie, “The Miracle Worker,” aptly portrays the reality of a little girl who became more like an animal, wild and driven by angry emotions. She couldn’t grow and develop because she didn’t even understand who she was.

When Keller was almost seven years old, her mother hired Anne Sullivan, who was herself visually impaired and only 20 years old, as an instructor.

Sullivan brought a doll as a present, and, using sign language in the palm of Keller’s hand, attempted to show her that “d-o-l-l” was the word that signified the object. The little girl did not understand. What was the meaning of these motions in her hand? Why was this strange person insisting on making these motions?

For a month, the teacher persistently signed the words of various objects in this manner, while Keller got more and more frustrated. She became so upset that she broke her beloved doll, overwhelmed by the rush of emotions and unable to make sense of it all.

Finally, a light came on in her darkness. She realized, while Sullivan ran cold water over her hand, that “w-a-t-e-r” was a word that signified this wet feeling. Once Keller understood this connection, she couldn’t get enough of words. She wanted to know the words for everything, and she began to communicate with those around her. Sullivan’s persistence broke through the silent, dark isolation of the little girl’s deafness and blindness. And Keller’s courage in understanding and facing up to her reality was the launching pad that helped her move forward in her education and development.

The next year, Keller enrolled at the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Eventually, she became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelors degree. Keller spent a purposeful life advocating for the disabled and disadvantaged until she died in her sleep at age 87. Her ashes were buried next to Sullivan, her lifelong friend.

Keller’s story is both inspiring and challenging, for who can say whether we would have the courage to face up to similar disabilities? Yet, all of us have character flaws that we too must face in order to live a truly purposeful life. This requires courage.

In small ways, we may find ourselves living the wild, animal existence that Helen lived before her breakthrough. We may be driven by negative emotions, overwhelmed, out of control, and unable to make sense of it. We may find ourselves in a situation where we are hitting our heads against a brick wall, or where we feel like we are on a rollercoaster that we can’t get off. We find ourselves enslaved to fears and resentments, incapable of being the type of person we want to be.

This realization can create stress and tension in our lives. If we do not know how to handle stress in healthy ways, we may look for escapisms in the form of alcohol, gambling, excessive shopping, internet time, etc. Far from the healthy recreational use of these things, we may use them in an imbalanced way, neglecting our duties or “checking out” of life for a while. Essentially, this is a cowardly running away from ourselves.

To get out of this vicious cycle, it is important for us to take stock of who we are, courageously face up to our strengths and weaknesses, and then move forward. We need to make a searching, fearless, honest, and thorough personal inventory on all dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

We need to look objectively at our lives, to see ourselves as we really are, and discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviors, and the behavior patterns that drive us. Closing our eyes to this reality only creates more stress and sets us up for failure. It is important to understand our character defects in specific and personal ways.

For example, you might say, “my problem is that I always lose my temper, and I end up saying things I shouldn’t, which damages my relationships.” Going deeper, and being more specific, you might say, “I often feel insecure when I see my imperfections; I think that I am only worthwhile when I perform perfectly; I get angry at myself when I mess up, and I take out that anger on others who don’t deserve it.”

Once the problem is laid out in this way, it is much easier to work on. It enables us to learn better, healthier ways of being. Knowing ourselves in this way also helps us recognize when we are slipping back into negative behavior patterns.

It takes courage to face our personal reality and admit our flaws. Yet, this is the first step in making positive changes in order to be the person we want to be. And no matter our talents or flaws, this is the arena where we will be able to make the greatest difference in the world: by bettering ourselves. 


Action Items:

· Identify your escapisms. Try to define the line in which that activity ceases to be healthy recreation and starts to become an unbalanced enslavement.

· Think about a relationship in your life that is strained. Have you been blaming the other person rather than owning up to your own responsibility in the problem? Face up to your own flaws in the situation, and if you can, try to change your attitude or behavior.

· It is never too late to pursue an ideal for your life. What type of person do you want to become? Write out a description of where you want to be in the next 10 and 20 years, and take the first step toward becoming that person.

Genevieve Pollock
M.S. Clinical Psychology
 
Jan McGowan RN, BHA, CCM, CDMS, achieved a recent successful outcome on a case involving a 57 year old gentleman with a two year history of low back injury due to herniated disc.

Prior to the referral to case management the injured worker had returned to work in his position as a truck driver / delivery person, with 50 lb. lifting requirements.  Conservative care for his back injury had failed. He later came off work after treatment failed to alleviate his pain and due to the fact he was unable to perform his basic duties and/or activities of daily living. He used a cane for ambulation at all times. He had been terminated by his employer for failing to report to work. The account requested an IME which determined further conservative treatment or the possibility that surgery would be needed.

Jan received the file several months after the IME, and she quickly completed an initial evaluation and assessment, finding that the injured worker was in pain, he was taking long term narcotic medication daily, ambulating with a cane and was unable to perform his activities of daily living.

 After meeting with the physician and determining that surgery was needed, Jan identified co morbid medical issues which would require medical clearance for surgery.  By facilitating communication between the injured worker and his medical doctor and surgeon the necessary clearance was obtained and the surgery was completed without delay.


Following surgery, while providing discharge planning, Jan identified financial issues which she resolved by coordinating a new prescription card .During the course of recovery she worked with the doctor to facilitate a plan to wean the injured worker off the narcotic medication which had been used long term.

As a part of her assessment of the return to work issues on the file, Jan determined the job description provided by the employer was very minimal and also that the injured worked and doctor did not feel it accurately portrayed the job duties with the former employer.

Jan requested a formal job analysis, which was completed by the Vocational Consultants at TRIUNE Health Group.  She then identified a facility to provide an unbiased Functional Capacity Evaluation. As a result of these interventions   the injured worker was found to be able to perform the required job duties. Maximum Medical Improvement was also obtained from the treating physician.

The injured worker at the end of treatment reported he was able to perform all his activities of daily living with only occasional mild complaints of pain and no longer needed a cane.

Why not let TRIUNE handle your next case from start to finish.  Call us at 1-800-633-0884. We pride ourselves in providing the Good Beginnings and Resulting Endings that defines this industry.
Saturday, April 14, 2012

Having recently had another Job Placement success in early January, Amanda Ortman, just closed another file that resulted in a Job Placement as well.  In this case, Amanda was assigned a 50 year-old CT Scan Technician who had a cervical spine and right shoulder injury.  The Injured Worker (IW) had been released to light duty and her employer could not accommodate her restrictions or find her alternate duty.  At the time of referral, the IW had been involved in a self-directed job search for 4 months and had not had a single interview.

Amanda revised the IW's resume and conducted Job Seeking Skills Training (JSST).  She met with the IW on a weekly basis and conducted job development on her behalf as well.  Aggressive Job Placement services were provided in order to keep the IW focused on an eventual RTW.

Within 4 months of referral, the IW interviewed for a position and was hired by a medical supply company as a telephonic customer service representative at a rate of pay of $17.00 per hour. The IW advised Amanda that without her assistance she did not feel that she would have been hired as she was out of practice from an interviewing perspective and was using a resume that did not reflect her in the best possible light.Total Case cost: $6120.25

TRIUNE Health Group has Statewide Vocational coverage in Illinois and would welcome the opportunity to assist you with any of your Vocational needs be they a Job Analysis, Ergonomic Assessment, Vocational Assessment, Labor Market Survey, Job Placement, etc.  You can contact us for all your Vocational Service needs at 800-633-0884.

From time to time, we'll be highlighting recipes to assist you in your healthy eating efforts!  Thank you RealSimple.com for this one!

Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Saute

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds small chicken cutlets (8 to 12)

kosher salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)

4 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped



Directions

· Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

· Working in 2 batches, cook the chicken until browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates.

· Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to burst, 2 to 3 minutes.

· Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

· Stir in the scallions and tarragon and serve with the chicken.

 Nutritional Information

Calories 287, Protein  36g, Carbohydrate  6g, Sugar  4g, Fiber  2g, Fat  11g, Sat Fat  2g, Calcium  46mg, Iron  2mg, Sodium  331mg, Cholesterol  94mg


How do you stack up?

Want to improve your health? Modify your lifestyle so that you can circle "true" for as many of these statements as possible.


If you have more "false" responses, then you should contact your doctor for a checkup.

I'm a nonsmoker
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F
I exercise 3-4 days per week
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F
I am not a diabetic
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F
I get an annual checkup
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F
I do not eat fast food very often
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F
I eat two pieces of fresh fruit every day
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F
My blood pressure is 120/80 mm/Hg or lower
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F
My LDL cholesterol is 100 mg/dl or lower
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F
My HDL cholesterol at least 40 mg/dl
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F
I am not overweight
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I am generally happy with my job
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I am in a happy relationship or I am happy being single
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F
I generally don't drink more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day
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F
If I'm over 50, I've had either a colonoscopy or a virtual colonoscopy
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F
In the past year, I've been to a dermatologist for a skin cancer exam
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F
If I'm female, I do self-breast exams, and if I'm age 40 or above, I get regular mammograms
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F
If I'm a male over 50, I've talked to my doctor about my risk of prostate cancer
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If I'm a female, I go to gynecologist every year for a PAP smear
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I've had a C-reactive protein blood test, and my doctor says my levels were normal
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I sleep between six and seven hours per night
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