The Internet of Things (IoT) already is making life easier for tech-savvy folks with disposable income. However, many of the devices you can set from a smartphone aren’t always useful for those of us who are home all day. The IoT just wasn’t practical for many people with chronic illnesses–until now.
Amazon has developed a hands-free, voice-activated device that does just about everything someone who is confined to bed or a wheelchair could want.
The Echo Show is a great idea for someone who is disabled, has a fatiguing illness or is otherwise unable to use their hands. I do not own one of these devices, but I’m seriously considering buying it next Monday when Amazon has its Prime Day sales.
Here’s why I think this would be great for anyone who is disabled. With the Echo Show, in no particular order of importance, you can:
Watch Amazon Video content
See music lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi
Play music simultaneously across Echo devices with multi-room music (Bluetooth not supported)
View security cameras. Ask Alexa to show the front door or monitor another room with compatible cameras from Amazon and others
See your photos
Get weather forecasts
Just talk to make to-do and shopping lists
Browse and listen to Audible audiobooks
Call almost anyone hands-free
Make video calls to family and friends with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App
Instantly connect to other Echo devices around your home
Stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more
Turn on lights or the TV, set thermostats, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices
Plus, Echo Show will get smarter and be adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more.
All hands-free—just ask the device.
The Echo Show has powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response. With eight microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing.
FLASH: we don’t have to wait for Prime Day since they are on sale now!
I get a small affiliate fee if you purchase after clicking the ad.
Are you ready for your loved one to come home from the hospital or rehab facility?
Here are seven things to consider before the big day.
Equipment: Will you need special medical equipment, called DME (durable medical equipment) like a hospital bed, oxygen, a commode, toilet seat riser and grab bars, a bath chair, bathroom handrails, a hand-held shower attachment, transfer aids, and mobility aids like a quad cane, or a walker? Ask the nurses who give the daily care what you will need at home and have them arrange it before the homecoming. Make sure it is all ready to go and in place on the discharge day. Oxygen canisters can be kept outdoors even in the hottest/coldest climates, but the bulky oxygen generator has to be plugged in somewhere inside the house.
Routines: what changes to the daily schedule will be needed to accommodate rehabilitation or comfort care? If you don’t already have one, get a large wall calendar where you can keep track of medical appointments whether coming to you or going to them. You should receive a list of all medications and times at discharge. Sometimes there are so many things at different times during the day and night that it will be easier if you make a chart. Then you can check off when pills, inhalers, and treatments are taken. Will you need to transform the living room into a bedroom for a short time?
Home Health nurses and aides: Be sure to talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner about ordering home health care. Physical therapy is often ordered for a short time, as well. In most cases, there will be at least one visit with a registered nurse to help you get things set up. He or she can also be a resource for any and all questions. The nurse can help develop that medication chart if you are confused about it, too. Also, a home health aide may be available to help with showering or bed baths. These decisions are dictated by Medicare/Medicaid and private insurance regulations, so each situation is unique.
Household chores: Finding the time and energy to house clean and take care of the yard or do snow removal will be much more difficult while you are a full-time caregiver. Consider hiring help either from one of the many home care agencies like Visiting Angels, Seniors At Home or Safe At Home that provide light housekeeping and personal care. Craigslist can also be a source for help, but don’t forget to ask friends and neighbors.
Safety: You may need to remove throw rugs, fasten down area rugs, install handrails on stairs, and generally remove clutter. Look carefully at anything that would interfere with a mobility aid like a walker or cane. If there will be oxygen, then a sign needs to be fastened to the front door warning there is no smoking in this house. This means no candles, either. Doorways may need to be widened if a wheelchair will be needed long-term.
Extra assistance: Someone who can pick up a prescription or get a few things at the grocery store for you will be invaluable. If you don’t have a support network close at hand, look into home delivery options.
Family Medical Leave/state programs: Medical leave is an option for people with full-time jobs that ensure the position will remain open while you take time out to care for a loved one. Talk with your human resources manager about eligibility. Some states have programs that will pay caregivers and provide funds to modify the home to accommodate medical needs. Call your county Aging, Disability Resource Center (ADRC) for information and help if your loved one is elderly or disabled.
Professional care managers are available in larger cities. For a fee, they will help with whatever is needed. Some of the areas where a care manager can assist are helping you plan and get to doctor’s appointments, helping navigate insurance and healthcare decisions, and communicating with your family and medical team. They can arrange for and schedule additional paid in-home help and set up a simplified medication regimen. Find them through a hospital or rehab facility, ADRC or use a search engine to “find care managers near me”.
Back when I was a home health nurse I loved the challenge of caring for wounds. Once I helped a Korean War veteran heal an open sore on his ankle bone he said had been there since he was frost-bitten in 1954! Another challenging wound was a man with a pressure ulcer (bedsore) whose white knobby tailbone could be clearly seen after I removed the dressing.
Remember Christopher Reeve who portrayed Superman until his neck was broken in a horse riding accident? He died because of a bed sore. Thecause of death was an adverse reaction to an antibiotic he was taking for sepsis caused by his pressure ulcer. This can simplistically be thought of as a blood infection. However, sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.
Although I love wounds, caring for open sores, whether caused by surgery, accident or sensation loss, is a major stressor for families and most (normal) people. Good wound care is a vital part of post-surgical recovery as well as keeping healthy and even alive. Proper wound care is necessary to prevent infection and to promote healing.
What Causes Wounds?
Wounds occur when the skin is damaged because of injury. This may be the result of mechanical, chemical, electrical, thermal, or even nuclear sources.
Skin is damaged in different ways depending upon the mechanism of injury. In all cases, inflammation (redness) is one of the first signs of injury.
Wounds are classified into types:
Superficial wounds (on the top surface layer of skin) are caused by friction rubbing against a rough surface, even something seemingly smooth like a bed sheet. They are known as abrasions or skin tears.
Additionally, many seniors take blood thinners like Coumadin® and/or low dose aspirin with resulting “bruises” where blood vessels leak into the tissue just under the skin. These obviously need protection from opening up and require prompt attention when they do.
Deep wounds, such as those following surgery, go through the skin into the underlying tissue, like muscle and fat layers.
Puncture wounds, usually caused by a sharp object entering the skin, could be as minor as a needlestick to give an injection or draw blood, or deep as a stab wound from a knife or similar sharp object.
Bites, whether human or animal, are classified as superficial or puncture wounds, depending on depth and size.
Pressure ulcers (bed sores) develop due to lack of blood supply to the skin. This is the result of chronic pressure on an area, especially over bones. This tissue compression causes a loss of blood supply to the area which increases skin breakdown. First inflammation and then sores develop when a person who is bedridden, sits for long hours in a wheelchair or has a cast pressing on the skin does not remove pressure from the area. Pressure ulcer prevention guidelines specify moving every 20 minutes to relieve compression.
Hospitals Discharge Patients ASAP
Hospitals are under tremendous insurance pressure to discharge patients as soon as possible after surgery. It’s a very confusing time for family caregivers with a discharge planner, a social worker and maybe even a wound care nurse all giving directions on the day of discharge. No wonder the many details involved in wound care are often forgotten or misremembered!
In most cases, if the wound is not considered complex, teaching is done at the time of discharge. A home health nurse will usually be assigned if the wound is complicated, such as performing wet-to-dry dressings several times each day. However, while a home care nurse keeps the patient as their primary concern, they are required to teach a family member–or a paid caregiver–how to change the dressing. Private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid will not pay for a nurse to stay in the home beyond a specified number of days after discharge.
In addition to surgical wounds, several other populations almost routinely (unfortunately) develop open sores that are specific to who they are. People who are unable to move in bed or in a chair easily often develop bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers. (Waaay back when I was just a nursing assistant, they were also known as decubitus ulcers.)
Diabetics and other people with neuropathy can develop open sores in the areas with poor sensation, like feet and lower legs, due to not feeling an offending pebble in a shoe or a bump on the shin. Preventing more open sores is a vital part of home wound care.
Proper Wound Care Procedure
If there is any pain or discomfort with dressing changes give the patient (I’m using patient as a stand-in for the wordier but politically correct terminology of “person with a wound”) pain medication about half an hour before starting. Medications can range all the way from acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to morphine. The nurse will be able to help you decide how much pain medication to give. If the wound is particularly worrisome for the patient, ask them to practice deep breathing relaxation exercises as you do the dressing change.
Gather all the equipment you will need. This includes the tape and dressings needed, gauze squares, saline, ointments, wound packing material, clean or sterile gloves, and any other item(s) as instructed by the nurse. Lay the materials on a clean surface in the order they will be used. Do not put dressing materials on the bed. This area is considered “dirty” from a wound care point of view–even if the sheets were just changed.
WASH YOUR HANDS. Even when wearing gloves, it’s still important to cleanse your hands before and after touching a wound. Bacteria easily travel between your hands and the wound. You can use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Scrubbing hands to the tune of the Alphabet Song (♪A, B, C, D, E, F, G♫) ensures you spend enough time to do it correctly.
Follow the wound care written instructions given at the time of discharge.
Additionally, remove the old dressing only after you have all supplies ready to go and the patient is medicated for pain or discomfort. Wounds need a warm and moist environment to heal. Healing is postponed if the wound is left open to the air for even a minute longer than necessary.
Slowly lift the corners or edges of the dressing or tape. If it sticks to the skin, dab the edges with an adhesive remover, a moistened gauze pad, or a moistened paper towel.
Hold down the skin surrounding the bandaged area. Gently and slowly remove the tape or dressing. Lift the tape across the skin rather pulling away from the skin.
Lift the edges of the dressing toward the center of the wound, then gently lift it from the wound. If the dressing sticks to the wound, soak it with saline solution to help loosen it.
Carefully place the old dressing into a plastic trash bag (or grocery bag) and tie it closed. Put that bag into a second plastic bag and throw it away. You can put all the packaging from the new dressing in the bag, too.
Remove the gloves and wash your hands again.
Challenges With Chronic Wounds
Any wound that doesn’t heal easily and remains open for weeks after most similar wounds heal is considered chronic. These are among the most difficult to successfully treat. Chronic wounds can occur when:
surgical wounds reopen or don’t heal completely
when the skin breaks down because there is too much pressure over a bony area, called a pressure ulcer or bedsore
there’s injury over a vein or artery in an area with poor circulation, called a venous or arterial ulcer
there is a loss of circulation and sensation due to diabetes, called a diabetic ulcer
Many hospitals have specialized wound care clinics staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians. These health care providers are certified in wound care and work solely with these types of chronic wounds and ulcers. They have access to up-to-date research and technology, such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers and the latest wound care dressings.
Remember, don’t forget to ask questions when the nurse is instructing you! Discharge planning has become an increasingly more important part of the hospitalization. Fines are levied for hospitals who have too many readmissions. And if the wound in question doesn’t require hospitalization, STILL don’t let the nurse get away until you have ALL your questions answered and concerns met.
I’d love to know what my readers thought of this. Was it too medical? Was it helpful? What else would you like to see me write about?
About a month ago I received, gratis in exchange for an honest review, a new handheld device called Benepod®. My first reaction was, “How cute!”
The Benepod fits snugly in my hand which is a good thing because there is nothing else to hold it in place. My initial use was on a tight trapezius muscle. That’s the muscle on each side of the neck that people reach behind their head to massage. It should not look like you are Gul Dukat, a Cardassian from Deep Space 9, but I frequently resemble him when I spend time on the computer. Here’s a quick video clip to illustrate.
As expected, the trapezius loosened as I held the device over it. By the time its charge was spent, there was no more tight trap. In fact, the muscle remained loose for several days after treatment. As I’d had a chronically tight trapezius since severe whiplash caused by an accident in 1995, I was frankly astounded.
Thermal Grill Pain Control
Benepod simultaneously uses hot and cold to fight pain. By applying contrasting sensations at the same time to a particular point on the body, the Benepod engages natural healing abilities. This occurs is through a theory of pain control known as the thermal grill illusion.
Although identified in 1896 by Swedish physician Torsten Thunberg, researchers didn’t begin to really study it until about 10 years ago. The thermal grill illusion occurs when nerves just under the skin can’t distinguish between the hot and cold stimuli. Consequently, this triggers a short-term intense–but not painful–sensation. This nerve overload is proven to effectively mask or even completely eliminate pain for a period of time. It appears to be an especially effective non-drug treatment for pain remaining after a stroke.
According to the material that came with it, the patented technology used in the Benepod effectively treats neck pain, knee pain, arthritis of the hands, headaches, and various other forms of musculoskeletal pain. The Benepod uses a standard wall charger and USB-C cable. It is compatible with most USB accessories, such as portable batteries used to charge cell phones and other portable electronics. It arrives with a long cord, making it easy to recharge without having to leave my bed.
With the promotional literature in mind, I used the Benepod to reduce a chronic knot in my left masseter (jaw) muscle, also a symptom remaining after the 1995 accident. In addition to whiplash, being T-boned also gave me temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). I wore a mouthpiece for months and was unable to eat solid food for weeks. After more than 20 years, the muscle swelling was still apparent. After just one Benepod treatment almost a month ago now, I still have not had the tightness return.
Real Fibromyalgia Pain Relief
With two solid wins on chronically tight, inflamed muscles, I wondered how it would work for fibro pain. I often get hit in my left arm extending from the deltoid, where the arm meets the shoulder and where nurses give injections, through the triceps, biceps, and forearm flexor muscles and into the wrist and hand. Even when I consider the pain manageable, I still cannot put pressure on that side. It is a frequent cause of painsomnia.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when this fibromyalgia pain was significantly reduced after one treatment to the deltoid–before I took any muscle relaxants or pain medication. However, to achieve a complete cessation of all pain I had to recharge several times and hold the pod on different areas of my arm and wrist.
After coming in from working in the garden, and a lot of bending and straightening, my lower back was in spasm. I charged up the Benepod and slipped it into my underpants to hold against my spine at around S1. I’d had disc bulging at L4-L6 since moving a bedridden patient by myself more than 20 years ago.
As the device discharged, I no longer felt lower back pain. Then the soreness in my thoracic (chest area) spine became evident. The upper back didn’t hurt earlier probably because the lower back was more painful. After a short period spent recharging, I slipped the Benepod into the back of my bra along the spine. No more soreness.
I can’t get over how well this works!
This morning I woke with neuropathic pain in my right first through third toes. Instead of getting up and taking my morning dose of gabapentin, I fired up the Benepod.
This was a little trickier to hold in place since I didn’t want to remain hunched over with my hand on the toes. I ended up sitting in a modified Lotus yoga posture with my painful toes and Benepod curved inside and held against my left calf. The pain was significantly reduced after one application. It disappeared following two applications.
The only downside I could find after more than a month of use was that you have to either hold the Benepod on a painful spot with other hand or a body part or secure it with clothing. For example, I would pull a long sleeve up over my elbow and hold the pod on the underside of the elbow with my cuff. In other areas, I used a scarf, gauze or another long, soft material to bind it in place.
Saringer Life Science Technologies, the maker of the Benepod, produces other devices for the medical marketplace. For example, they have a unit that prevents or treats deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and other circulatory issues. Interesting to anyone who had a total knee replacement, the company’s founder was the inventor of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine that flexed and extended the new knee joint following surgery.
Here’s a link to Salinger’s web page. https://www.saringer.com/.
And for your convenience, here’s one for the Benepod on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2rm5klV.
Please remember that I receive a small commission if you purchase through this link.
You’re coming, right? To watch the FREEHome Medicine Summit… that just went LIVE to the world at 9 a.m. CT this morning?
That’s right, it just started TODAY!
And this 100% online, 7-day event is going to be running 24/7, until Sunday, May 20th with an incredible lineup of 42+ world-renowned speakers on topics related to:
The Big Organic Rip Off: why it’s not as healthy as you think!
Making your own probiotics–CHEAP + EASY!
100% NATURAL remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression. (Safe alternatives to prescription medications.)
How to save $1000s in funeral costs.
How to make your own miraculous CBD “hemp oil” … and use it as medicine, without getting high!
Foods that are BETTER than anti-inflammatory drugs!
Is Turmeric actually DANGEROUS to consume? What nobody is telling you…
Why perimeter shopping at the grocery store isn’t a good strategy any more.
The power of saying “no” … and how to do it!
… And that’s just the beginning!
You’ll hear from best-selling authors and thought-leaders, like:
Mike Adams, Ronnie Cummins, Sally Fallon, Sayer Ji, Nick Polizzi, Melinda Meyer, Joel Salatin, Eric Zielinski, Howard Garrett, Justin Rhodes, Paul Wheaton…
… Just to name a few!
So that’s why I’d like to confirm. You signed up to watch for FREE? Right?
You’ll still have access to Monday’s speaker presentations, but remember they take down each daily presentation at 8:59 am CST and replace them with new ones. Be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss your favorites.
Remember my gardening and lifestyle mentor, Marjory Wildcraft? Growing my own organic food was a huge step to take when I was still pretty sick. But the advice and encouragement I got from her helped get me to where I am today.
That’s why I’m excited to finally be able to tell you. Registration is open and freetickets are available now for her Home Medicine Summit 2018. Piggyback this information on top of all the experts from the Food Revolution. You are well on your way to a healthier life!
I received a sneak preview of this year’s speaker lineup earlier and I can tell you that Marjory has really outdone herself. She’s pulled together an incredible lineup of 42+ experts who promise to show you how to be naturally healthy for pennies on the dollar.
Covering a wide range of topics, this year’s event includes:
Why organic is not always as healthy as you think
Making your own probiotics cheaply and easily
100% natural and safe remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression
How to save $1000s in funeral costs
How to make your own CBD “hemp oil” and use it as medicine, without getting high (or arrested if you are in a nonlegal state)
Foods that are better than anti-inflammatory drugs
Why perimeter shopping at the grocery store isn’t always a good strategy
The power of saying “no”
Marjory has once again recruited world-class thought leaders, best-selling authors, and research institutes to participate. These are big names in natural gardening, food, and wellness like Mike Adams, Ronnie Cummins, Sally Fallon, Sayer Ji, Nick Polizzi, Melinda Meyer, Joel Salatin, Eric Zielinski, Howard Garrett, Justin Rhodes, and Paul Wheaton.
But what I love even more is that because Marjory’s connections are so deep and wide in the natural health, permaculture, and sustainable living communities you’re also going to have the chance to meet some unsung heroes. You will meet and learn from people you’ve likely never heard of because they’ve been off in their corner of the world “living it.”
This is a 100% online event, free for you to attend from anywhere with an internet connection. It kicks off Monday, May 14th and will run 24 hours a day for seven full days with two encore days. But please note. Only those people who sign up at the link below will get the schedule + instructions for watching! (This is how they contain the costs of hosting an event like this on a global scale.)
So don’t wait and then kick yourself for missing it! Get your ticket to watch and the presentation schedule right here. And be sure to add this to your calendar ASAP.
I should also mention that when you claim your free ticket Marjory will send you a nice bundle of six gifts to welcome you to the Summit.
In exchange for signing up, I receive a percentage of the price for talks if you purchase them for a reference. But purchasing is NOT required. Do what many others do, and watch each presentation when it is live and free. Or if you are having painsomnia, watch it at two in the morning!