Safe Proofing a Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Safe Proofing a Home for Seniors – A Caregivers Guide!

Many Seniors today are staying at their homes longer with the help of caregivers or they are moving into their Children’s homes!

If you’re a caregiver and are preparing your home or your Parents home for a Parent to live safely, then you’ll need some advice on what essential safe proofing steps you may need to take to make sure they are safe from serious injury. You can talk with your Doctor and a mobility specialist at any local Home Health Supply store, they will be able to guide you in the right direction regarding specific equipment needs and installations. We have a store called Sunshine Mobility, and the Main office is located at 3089 Forest Glade Dr, Windsor, ON N8R 1W6. Our staff would be more than happy to assist you with questions or needs.

Start with Decluttering & Clearing Paths

Many of us leave our possessions around the living room, hallways, staircases and bedrooms and think nothing of it. Unfortunately, a Senior can trip and fall or misuse these items very easily. It can be much more severe for a senior to experience an accident. Start by clearing and decluttering the home so that your Parent has a safe pathway to walk or use their wheelchair or walkers and not bump into dangerous items lying around. You may wish to place locks or gates on rooms that may be unsafe, for instance, the basement,  stairwells, garage, balconies etc.. Many families rent storage lockers to place extra items that are currently cluttering the home or place them in garage sales or send them for donation.

Remove Sharp Edges

While your Parent may want to keep that beautiful night table, if it has sharp edges on it, or the drawers fall out easy, it can be a safety hazard. You can simply clear out hazardous furniture, or you can put on plastic or rubberized guards. You may consider removing glass tables and replacing them with safer furniture. Glass can be really heavy and very dangerous.

Bathroom Safety

Use carpeting where possible in bathrooms to reduce slippery floor surfaces as much as possible. Don’t leave items like hair dryers or shavers laying on the countertops. Install grab bars for toilets and bathing areas as well as a shower chair. Use a bath mat or tub stickers to reduce slip and falls you can also get a faucet cover for additional protection. Reduce the water heaters overall temperature to make sure your Parent will not be burned.

Kitchen Areas

If your Parent is able to prepare themselves a meal make sure they are able to reach items easily. You may want to consider lowering the microwave as well to a manageable height on a counter. If water taps are out of reach you could get a water dispenser or look at refrigerators that have water and ice on the doors. Make sure you don’t have a gas stove or sharp knives laying around as they could be dangerous.

General Support

A Senior who is having difficulties walking may need to occasionally hold onto the walls or furniture. This is the time to consider if they should have a cane, walker, or wheelchair chairlift. But it’s also vital that furniture is secure if they are holding onto it for support. If there is a shelving unit in their bedroom, you don’t want them to grab onto it, only to have it fall on them. Shelves and bookcases can be attached to walls easily. Your local home health store or hardware can sell you special brackets. Make sure there are railings attached to the walls of stairwells. Some homeowners place a railing on both sides for maximum support. A chair lift may also be a good idea to help them get up or down the stairs.

A Way to Contact Family or Help

Medical alert devices are helpful for quick emergency situations when no one is around. Also make sure your Parent has a list of phone numbers and easy to reach telephone that can be charged easy if its cordless. A bell is also handy to alert someone in another room that assistance is needed.

Ensure They Have Comfortable Private Space In Your Home

Your Parent should have a room that they can call their own. This can be a place for them to retreat to and relax. There should also be a closing door for privacy, but no lock is recommended. As a caregiver, you’ll need to have quick access to their room for countless reasons and safety in general.

It may seem daunting having to change your home to suit your Parent’s needs, but remember all the sacrifices they made to bring you up when you were a kid. The time, effort, and expense will be well worth it when you get to spend a few quality time with your loved ones.

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The Importance of Children Getting Daily Physical Activity

The Importance of Children Getting Daily Physical Activity

Remember when you were a kid, riding your bike to the corner store or playing baseball with a group of friends?

Humans were not meant to sit around watching TV or playing video games all day long. Early humans were always on the move to hunt and gather food, escape predators, and to build shelter and make new creations for their well-being and survival. In the past few decades, we have been introduced to modern conveniences that help us lead a sedentary lifestyle. Today more than ever there are so many reasons why you need to encourage your children to get outside for daily activity and have them sign up for school and local sporting activities.

1. Helps with cognitive function. A brain that isn’t encouraged to grow and think can have a difficult time in school. Physical activity encourages the growth of receptors in the brain, and can also help with cognitive function so your child can do better in school and personal development.

2. Prevents diabetes. Being overweight can lead to type II diabetes. Then type II diabetes can lead to type I Juvenile diabetes. These are life-changing severe diseases, especially for a child. Its essential for youth to be active, eat a healthy diet, and even have a good exercise program growing up to help prevent diabetes.

3. Decreases the risk of heart disease. Heart disease can affect all ages. Daily exercise can help to strengthen the heart and prevent heart attacks and strokes in children. Teaching children to be active as children will encourage them to continue exercising into their adult years. It can also decrease the chances that they’ll suffer from heart disease when they’re seniors. Exercise also lessens the physical impact on the body, helping to reduce cortisol levels in the brain that can lead to heart and circulatory diseases.

4. Decreases stress & anxiety. Children can suffer from stress and anxiety from school, friends, and family. Having the ability to work through the stress with daily exercise will help your child to learn how to cope with stress much better.  Your child will know that they can head out for a walk around the block, go for a jog or do yoga poses, to work through any stress.

5. Decreases chances for substance abuse. Unfortunately, children have access to illegal substances in school nowadays. The child that has a healthy focus on life is less likely to want to experiment with toxic chemicals. They’ll also be happier and healthier, and less likely to reach for illegal substances.

You should slowly increase your child’s activity levels by about five or ten minutes each week. The following month, encourage one full hour of outdoor play or vigorous physical activity. Let them be as noisy as possible and don’t scold them for being active.

After a while, you’ll see a difference in your child. They’ll be happier and healthier, sleep better and be less irritated at minor things. The importance of children getting daily physical activity isn’t so much an option but rather is a necessity.

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The Future of Virtual Doctor Visits With Mobile Devices!

The Future of Virtual Doctor Visits With Mobile Devices!

Medical care could look like something out of a sci-fi film like Star Trek.

Typically people call to make an appointment or visit a walk-in clinic, drive down to see the doctor and wait for an hour or two in a waiting room. That has been the standard practice for as long as we can remember. As technology emerges and reshapes all industry, this could take a sharp turn in the near future. There is already evidence of this with Telehealth clinics where there is no doctor present in the facility and only a nurse to aid the Doctor via two way communication screen. There are clinics like this popping up everywhere, and there is probably some already in a town or city near you. In fact, we have a Telehealth clinic located at 1909 Tecumseh Rd E, Windsor, ON N8W 1C9

The next step in this advancement may be live appointments using a mobile phone or tablet from anywhere. They may be instantaneous, or you may have to prebook a virtual appointment. This, of course, won’t work with emergency situations or where a Doctor or nurse will need to assess you to make a diagnosis, but it will be useful for routine check-ups and more basic assessments. It’s also possible that health devices could work in tandem with this system. These may include blood pressure or heart rate, monitors, blood sugar monitoring devices and more.

The millennial generation is quite open to technology, so this might be the avenue for them to visit the doctors more often. You have to admit it would be very convenient and save a tremendous amount of time and since it is so convenient, we may also opt-in to see the doctor more often. Not only would this be a game changer it could open us up to specialists around the world for greater health care options and other points of views not readily available to us.

Employers would love this because staff members could see a Doctor while on lunch or break rather than taking the entire day off. People who work often push Doctor visits aside even know they need to see one because its hard to get the time off. This could help us be healthier overall. Doctors could order blood work based on the virtual assessment and then revisit in a follow-up appointment when the results come in to discuss the next steps.

What would this look like? How will it work?

Simply log into a secure app and book your appointment. List or check off sections to help the system measure the severity of your needs and after all points are measured it would let you know if your eligible or not for the virtual appointment. This is where artificial intelligence would come into play to make this assessment. Depending on availability you may be connected instantly, or you may have to wait a set amount of hours. You would be notified with a reminder before the appointment starts then you’ll be able to interact with each other, much like a Skype call. Your Physician will ask you questions. If your health condition is visible like a rash, they may ask to see it on screen and may prescribe you medications, order blood work or book you in with a specialist.

As this becomes, more mainstream the pharmacies and blood labs will also adopt new technologies that will assist this new way to conduct virtual visits that make their services integrated as well. Your virtual Physician would also be able to determine during a virtual visit whether you may need extra care so local clinics and emergency rooms could also be equipped with seamless technological integrations to make sure you are cared for in a timely manner and they know you are on the way with some data already handy from the virtual Physician and a spot or bed set aside for your arrival.

Virtual doctor visits can free up waiting rooms in clinics, Doctors offices, and emergency rooms and efficiently handle all the minor aches and health concerns. This approach could ultimately save more lives and free up time for everyone.

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How Your Child Can Benefit From The New OHIP Plus Program

How Your Child Can Benefit From The New OHIP Plus Program

Perscriptions just got easier for children and young adults 24 years of age or younger.

At the start of 2018, it was announced that over 4400 drug products are now free if you’re aged 24-years-old, or younger, under the Ontario Drug Benefit program. This is great news for college and university students or those who are working low-income jobs. The program doesn’t require a long complicated registration process either. All you have to do is take your eligible prescription to a pharmacy and your health card number.

Parents will also find the program of benefit for their babies, children, and youths under 24-years-old. Besides age qualification requirements, you must already have OHIP coverage.

There is no need to register because if you already have OHIP, then your coverage is automatic. The OHIP Plus coverage will end on a person’s 25th birthday. At that point, a person may qualify for other financial help for prescription drug costs.

There are more than 4400 drug products that can be free under the OHIP Plus program. Just some of these include:

• Antibiotics for infections
• Asthma inhalers
• Diabetic insulin and test strips
• Epipens
• Antidepressants
• ADHD drugs
• Childhood cancer drugs
• Quit smoking products

There is a full listing of covered drugs on the OHIP Plus website. There may also be individual drugs covered under the Exceptional Access Program if the person qualifies.

For parents who need to get a child’s medication that would be covered under OHIP Plus, they will first obtain the prescription, then they will head to any pharmacy in Ontario and present that, along with their health card. The pharmacy will provide the prescription at no charge. There will be no dispensing fee, deductible, or a co-payment.

The same procedure is in place if you’re an individual of legal age. The prescription is also completely free.

If you have coverage under other health plans, you may be concerned about how your OHIP+ can affect your coverage under other plans. There are three different situations that may be involved.

If you’re a parent who has a child who is eligible for the program, then OHIP Plus is the first payer for the eligible drug products.

If you’re a parent and you are a member of the Trillium Drug Program, they are also covered under OHIP Plus. But one important detail to note is that since you don’t pay out of pocket for any of these medications, there will also be no amounts that count towards your deductible, so your TDP won’t be affected at all.

In some instances, there may be Ontario residents who are going to school in other provinces. It’s still possible that your prescriptions would still be covered by OHIP Plus if you follow these three rules:

1. You continue maintaining your OHIP.
2. You have a valid prescription from a physician in Ontario.
3. You get your medication from an Ontario pharmacy.

OHIP Plus is a helpful government program that has provided a solution to families and individuals in need. If you already have OHIP coverage, you’ll automatically qualify for OHIP Plus, so all you have to do is show up at your favourite pharmacy with your prescription and healthcare card.

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Little Blue House fashions kingsville ontario

Grand Opening: Little Blue House, fashions – Kingsville Ontario

Little Blue House, fashions items will be 20% off during our Grand Opening: Thursday, May 03 2018, Friday, May 04 2018 and Saturday, May 05 2018.

We will have in store giveaways, snacks, and refreshments! We have the largest selection of Little Blue House in Southwest Ontario.

Great Mother’s Day gifts available, we also offer free gift wrapping! Come on in and join the fun and see the latest fashions from Little Blue House.

Kingsville IDA Pharmacy – 271 Main St E Kingsville, Ontario, N9Y 1A7

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How Old is Your Glucose Meter?

CDA guidelines recommend upgrading your meter every 2 years!

STOP by one of our 14 retail locations to talk to our pharmacy team about getting yourself a new meter!

Sunshine Drugs Locations:

Moy – 1407 Ottawa St., Windsor
IDA 1909 – 1909 Tecumseh Rd. E.
Westminster – 5115 Tecumseh Rd. E.
Fontainebleu – 2901 Grandview St.
Forest Glade – 3145 Forest Glade Dr.
TLC – 11811 Tecumseh Rd.
Sandwich – 3211 Sandwich St.
Kingsville – 271 Main St E.
Sauble Beach – 329 Main St.
McIntyre – 49 Talbot St. W. Blenheim
McKenzine – 608 Bedford St. Wiarton
Bayside – 369 Mary St., Wiarton
Peninsula – 76 Main Street, Lion’s Head

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Ideal Protein! A Weight Loss Solution That Works! – Testimonial

In 2015 my pharmacy began offering the Ideal Protein weight loss and management program.  After receiving the training to be a coach for future clients I decided I would try the protocol myself. It had been 3 years and I still hadn’t lost the weight I gained while pregnant.  I had tried many times to count calories, maintain exercise routines and many other fad diets, but was not able to stick to them and did not see any lasting results.  I began Ideal Protein ready to fail and excuses lined up- “I don’t cook, my work schedule is too difficult, my migraines will be worse. ….” but sure enough the protocol was working.  It was easy to follow, the food tasted good and was easy and quick to prepare. There were also numerous recipes to make using the Ideal Protein products to add variety.  I was eating more vegetables than ever, and I felt great!  I had more energy, no late afternoon sugar crashes, drank less coffee and was sleeping more soundly at night.  I did not feel hungry or deprived.  With the weight and inches consistently dropping each week I was not deterred by the temptations of birthday cakes, Halloween candy or Christmas cookies.

By the new year, I had reached my goal and continued on to maintenance.  I had lost 45 pounds and 25 inches in total in 3 months and decreased body fat all while maintaining lean body mass – a key component of long-term weight loss success.  Two years later I have maintained the weight loss and continue to practice the lifestyle changes that I learned from the Ideal Protein program.

Now I am happy to help others achieve the same success and overcome their struggle to lose weight and change their lifestyle.  As a pharmacist, I understand the negative effects that excess weight can cause – from hypertension, insulin imbalance and other heart risks.  Weight loss can improve these disease states and overall health both physically and mentally.   Our Ideal Protein Coach, Mary Jo, listens, supports and guides our clients not only in the weight loss phase but throughout the lifestyle management as well.   In addition to the weekly coach meetings, clients receive daily video emails that provide information tailored to the phase of the protocol they are on. The videos also continue through the maintenance phase to help educate you and keep you on track.  These are key factors to the success that Ideal Protein is able to achieve.   Over 2 years our clinic has lost over 1000lbs and we work every week to help our clients keep that weight off.

For more information about Ideal Protein please check out the official website here

To make an appointment with a certified specialist click here

Advertising Policy

Testimonial, Article, and Pictures Supplied By Renee P.

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Prevention is Key? Yeah Right!

Prevention is Key? Yeah Right!

We’ve all heard that expression; but do we adhere to it?

You would think that we would learn from our mistakes and for something we have.  For example, years ago it was chique that everyone smoked and no one thought of the health repercussions of smoking until years later people started getting diagnosed with lung cancer.  Today there is not a public place in this country that you can have a smoke and rightfully so; smoking is very bad for you and the people around you.

There are numerous examples of preventatives.  I remember as a boy, my brother and I rolling around in the back seat of my Dad’s big Ford LTD.  Now every province and state has very strict laws on seat belt use that everyone wears one.  This past week I took the training wheels off my son’s bicycle.  He was ready to start learning how to ride on 2 wheels.  First, we had to put his elbow pads on, then his knee pads and finally his cool looking shark helmet.  You know, just like when we were kids.  Sunscreen is another one.  I remember back in the 80’s going away on those Spring Break trips to Florida.  We were using Hawaiian Tropic oil.  It probably had an SPF of 1 if we were lucky.  You know what I’m talking about.  You came home looking nice and golden brown only to have your skin peel for the next few weeks.  Now when I go away, I don’t use anything less than a 50 SPF.

Ultimately, you want to live a very healthy life full of joy and happiness.  Healthy; physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

We are very blessed that we live in this information age.  Everyone pretty much has a smartphone and or a tablet that provides us with instant information on almost anything we could possibly need.

These smartphones and tablets (iPad, etc) get their data through wi-fi.  The iPhone has been around now since 2007 and has totally revolutionized our society.  Everything is evolving at a very fast pace.  There is pretty much no place that doesn’t have wi-fi readily available.  But there is another side to this story that no-one talks about.  What could possibly be the ill effects of all this technology on our health?  What effects will there be in our health years from now, particularly our children?  Are we today’s society of smokers past?  Health Canada has implemented ‘Safety Code 6’ to ensure that it continues to provide protection against all known adverse human health effects of radio frequency fields.  Health Canada dispels all the myths out there and quite clearly writes that continuous exposure from multiple sources of RF energy, does not cause adverse effects.  Please visit for more details.  That being said, Safety Code 6 is based on an ongoing review of published scientific studies.  They also have this to say on their website……..

‘Given that cell phones are used frequently and in close proximity to the body, Health Canada provides additional guidance to concerned cell phone users so that they may take practical measures to reduce their exposure to RF energy. These measures include limiting the length of cell phone calls, using hands-free devices, and replacing cell-phone calls with texting. While there is no evidence that children and teenagers are at increased risk, Health Canada encourages parents to limit their children’s use of cell phones, as children are often at increased risk from a variety of environmental factors.’

I don’t know about you but my wife and I’s kids wake up wanting to go on the iPad or iPhone and those devices are pretty close to their bodies.  We both decided to limit the exposure and the distance of the devices from them.  These are the preventative measures we have initiated in our household in regards to cell phone and iPad use.  One thing for sure is that we don’t bring those devices into our bedrooms while sleeping.  Better to be safe than sorry.  I wanted to bring this to your attention so that you can do your own research and come to your own conclusion on what you think is safe and not.

Here’s another one that will get everyone steamed up!  In our city, the powers that be decided to eliminate fluoride in our drinking water against the professional advice from dentists.  As Larry David would say…..’ how’s that working out for you ?’  I don’t have any scientific studies but all I can say is that every Dentist I talk to is busier than ever filling kids cavities.

This one hits close to home.  What about all the individuals diagnosed with High Cholesterol and decide not to take the medication their Doctor prescribed because of the side-effects that they heard from their friend.  ‘How’s that working out for them?’  What about the person who refuses to take their high blood pressure medication because they are in denial?  How’s that working out for them?  How about the patient who has been diagnosed with high blood sugar and refuses to take their medication and follow a diet and exercise plan.  How’s that working out for them?

I think you get the picture.  I could continue on and on.  The choice is ours.  The big word here is “choice”.  We as adults have a choice.  Children do not have a choice.  As an adult, if you decide not to take any preventative measures for yourself that’s your choice, but I beg of you; if you have children please try to take the appropriate preventative steps to ensure their safety for today and for their future.

By: Frank Murgic, President & CEO of Sunshine Drugs.

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What’s New With Blood Pressure?

What’s New With Blood Pressure?

Managing Hypertension

“What’s New” is the title page of Hypertension Canada’s 2016 CHEP guidelines booklet for the management of Hypertension. CHEP stands for Canadian Hypertension Education Program. The dedicated men and women who compose this important document are unpaid volunteers comprised of clinical and scientific healthcare professionals. They selflessly contribute their time and expertise to the annual development and dissemination of the CHEP guidelines, which helps keep healthcare professionals informed of best practices in hypertension management.

What is hypertension?

Usually, when your blood pressure (BP) is above the healthy range, you have “high BP” or hypertension. Most people can’t tell whether their BP is high; they call it the silent killer.

What should my BP be?

A healthy BP, measured at your doctor’s office, should be less than 140/90 mmHg. At home, it should be less than 135/85 mmHg. For people over 80 years of age, it should be less than 150/90 mmHg. Finally, for diabetics, it should be less than 130/80 mmHg. Ideally, your normal BP should be 120/80 mmHg.

What does that mean?

The figure 120 is a representation of your systolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. Next, 80 describes your diastolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is at rest between beats.

Why does BP increase?

BP increases with age because blood vessels narrow as we get older. As a result, your heart works harder to pump blood through your blood vessels, which causes the pressure in your blood vessels to increase.

How does high BP harm the body?

It can lead to numerous debilitating diseases such as memory loss, stroke, impaired vision or blindness, angina, heart pain or heart attack, kidney damage as well as decreased sexual ability.

What causes high blood pressure?





Who can check your blood pressure?


How can I purchase a BP monitor for home use?

Talk to your pharmacist about which home BP monitor is best for you. Make sure your arm is measured for the right cuff size.

How can I measure my BP at home?

They can also help assist you in getting more involved in the treatment by encouraging you to have more responsibility and autonomy in monitoring your own BP and reporting the results so your healthcare provider can adjust your prescriptions as needed. They can also help educate you and your family about hypertension and its treatment.

Why treat high BP?

Treatment, in the form of medication and healthy lifestyle choices, can significantly help persons with hypertension. A decrease of 10/5 mmHg (achievable by taking one medication or introducing one change in lifestyle) reduces your risk of developing heart failure by 50 percent, stroke by 38 percent, heart attack by 15% percent and death by 10 percent.

How can I treat high BP with medication?

It’s important to remember that medications only work if you take them. Most people need two or more medications to control their BP and, for the most part, need to stay on them for life. Lifestyle changes are also needed. Most medications take up to six weeks to show their full effect; be patient. What’s more, because medications have controlled the BP does not mean
that one’s hypertension has been completely cured. Stopping a treatment when blood pressure returns to normal can cause your BP to rise again to dangerous levels. Fortunately, many drugs that lower BP also prevent heart attacks and strokes.

How can I do a better job of taking my medication properly?

Work with your healthcare provider and pharmacist to help improve medication adherence. They can help assist you at every visit using a multi-pronged approach that includes tailoring and simplifying pill taking to fit your daily habits. They can utilize single pill combinations as well as recommend unit of use packaging (myOnePac).

What are some further dos and don’ts of BP monitoring?


• Carefully read instructions for your blood pressure monitor
• Go to the bathroom before taking your pressure
• Sit comfortably: feet flat on floor, back supported, arm at heart level
• A bare arm is the preferred method (or a thin layer of clothing) on your upper arm
• Put cuff on and wait for 5 minutes Take two readings – wait 1 to 2 minutes between readings
• Record date and time with measurement
• Show your readings to your healthcare provider


• Cross your legs
• Take your pressure if you’re in a hurry
• Smoke 30 minutes before measuring
• Drink caffeine 30 minutes before measuring
• Eat a big meal for 2 hours before measuring
• Wear tight clothing
• Talk or watch TV during a measurement
• Measure your pressure if you are cold, nervous, uncomfortable, or in pain.

To lower your blood pressure, integrate the acronym PRESSURE into your day-to-day life:

Get regular Physical activity: Aim to get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Reduce your weight and

Eat a healthy diet: Integrate into your diet fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats like fish and poultry.

Stop smoking: Avoiding smoking will lower your risk of organ damage.

Ask your pharmacist or primary healthcare provider about proven methods that can help you quit forever.

Eat less Sodium: Fully 13 percent of cardiovascular events in Canada are attributed to excess dietary sodium. Processed and fast foods contain high amounts of salt. Choose foods with 5 percent or less of the daily value of sodium.

You can control blood pressure: Aiming to live a less stressful life can significantly affect your fight against hypertension. Individualized cognitive behaviour interventions are more likely to be effective when relaxation techniques are employed.

Take your medications: If you are on medications, take them as directed by your healthcare provider.

Avoid Excess alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption to less than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women

By: Frank Murgic, President & CEO of Sunshine Drugs.

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Lessons Learned from My Mother

Lessons Learned from My Mother

By Frank Murgic President & CEO of Sunshine Drugs.

Several years ago, I drove to my mother’s place to pick up a dinette table she no longer needed. The table was in good shape; the only reason she wanted to replace it was because the edges were too pointy, and she was worried the grandkids might get hurt by bumping into it.

When I went to pick up one end of the table, I realized how heavy it was and that it would require a few guys to move. Not only did this table have sharp edges, it also had a tabletop made of thick tempered glass. However, before I could even turn around to tell my mom that I would get some guys to help me, she had picked up the other end and said, “Come on, let’s go!”

“Holy cow!” I said to her as we began to move the table. “You’re strong!”

“It’s not about the strength,” she replied. “You have to have the will.”

I will never forget those words. “You taught me a lesson today,” I told her.

That’s my mom. She never went to the gym, never went on some wacky diet, never jogged, never swam, and never biked, but what she did do was always stay very active. Throughout my life, she has constantly been doing something. As an example, she would wake up at 5 am and, by 7 am, she had already prepared all the meals for the day and gone for her morning walk. Later on in the day, she would garden, mow the lawn, meet with her friends, eat a healthy meal, and go do some more walking with a friend. She was always active.

This past March, my brother found our mother unconscious on her bedroom floor. She had been lying there for more than 15 hours. We soon learned that my mother had suffered a massive stroke on the right side of her brain, which affected the entire left side of her body. At the time, we all thought mom was a goner, that she would never recover. I will never forget seeing her on that gurney, helpless and unconscious.

At the hospital, the doctor showed me the CAT scan, and it was not good. A large portion of the right side of my mother’s brain had been affected, and chances of a full recovery were not in her favour. How could this happen to my mom, a 77-year-old woman who, up to that time, was still climbing up trees to prune them?!

Ultimately, Mom was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). I have to thank the emergency medical technicians who helped discover the condition. Basically, her heart would sometimes skip a beat here and there, which would cause her blood to pool. Eventually, it led to the stroke.

Doctors started my mother right away on warfarin, a blood thinner, and modified her existing heart and blood pressure medications. Those first few days showed little improvement, but, slowly and surely with the help of the rehabilitation team – and with great will and determination – she started to recover. Within a few weeks, she was slowly starting to move her left arm, hand, and fingers. Soon, she was on her feet with the assistance of a walker. Mom’s cognitive function was starting to improve as well, and she was eventually healthy enough to be transferred to a dedicated rehabilitation clinic, where she endured more rigorous therapy. Mom, never being one to complain, adopted the attitude that she would be back to where she was before; she embraced the rehab with 100% effort.

One day, the attending physician, a senior doctor who was also of Eastern European descent, examined my mother and gave her the best possible advice. He realized the type of woman my mother is. The best way to recover, he told her, is when you get home, get back to doing what you were doing. You love to cook, so start cooking. Work that left hand and those fingers by kneading that dough when you’re baking bread or strudel. Get back to gardening and force yourself to use that left side, using the shovel and other utensils in that left hand.

Eventually, my mother was improving dramatically to the point where the rehab clinic would give her weekend passes. What do you think my mother wanted to do? Go cook! She wanted to make sarma (Croatian cabbage rolls). Well, I think she made enough sarma to feed the whole neighbourhood.

I must admit that my mom is an excellent cook. I can still recall from my boyhood the pleasant aromas of my mom’s cooking coming from our home; she would feed all my friends when they came over. While those first few meals my mother prepared after suffering the stroke were not her greatest, she did her best. Later, I started to gauge her improvement by the taste of her food. Eventually, she was released from rehab and got back into her normal daily life.

Today, Mom goes regularly to her family doctor and makes additional specialist appointments. She gets her INR checked at our pharmacy, and she gets her meds delivered in our OnePac system.

I would like to thank all healthcare professionals who have helped my mom on her road to recovery: the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, rehabilitation specialists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and family and friends. Thank you all.

Most importantly, thank you, Mom, for doing your part! One of my favourite quotes is from the entrepreneur and motivational speaker Keith Cunningham. It relates to my mom and what she has been doing her entire life: “Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results.”

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