My Travel Blog: Two Days in New York City! 8 Must-See-Must-Dos!

Two Days in New York City

If you find yourself in New York City, I have some must-see-must-do tips!

I actually found myself in New York last year as a rather spur of the moment, unplanned adventure, following a heart attack and therefore unable to fly home for two weeks, so we had a mandatory road trip as mentioned in a previous travel blog post.

Whether you find yourself in New York, or it’s a planned trip, I have some great must-see-must-do tips!

All this can all be carried out in two days!

  1. See the Statue of Liberty in the morning!

That’s when the sun is shining on her face! The entire front of her glows in the morning sun and it’s quite spectacular. Seeing her later in the day when her face is in the shadows just pales in comparison. See her around 10am.

If you buy tickets for the open air double-decker (Big Bus Tours) hop on-hop-off tour bus, you get the Hornblower Ferry ride complimentary and it’s worth it to see the statue from the water in the morning. The Staten Island Ferry is a free option to see her from the water, as well, but doesn’t get as close. 

Or see her from the ground, but still in the morning!

2. McSorley’s Irish Pub

McSorley’s is the oldest Irish Pub in New York City! And it’s wonderful! There’s only two alcoholic beverages on the menu: light and dark ale, ordered only in even numbers! If you order one, you get two! A famous limited menu but it’s good and affordable! You are seated at tables with others from all over the world which makes for wonderful conversations, new friends, and photo ops!

Everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon have been to McSorley’s. A rich history with photos on the walls. A street artist is often out front sketching the place and selling his originals and prints. Makes a great and affordable souvenir!

3. Joe’s Shanghai in China Town

Delicious Chinese Soup Dumplings filled with meatball soup! Again, you’re seated at tables with people from all over the world! They have a full menu but they are famous for the delicious soup dumplings! Affordable and so good!

4. Pedicab tour of Central Park

Well worth it! It’s pricey but you can dicker with them! Once we agreed upon a price, the pedicab tour through the park was wonderful! He was a great tour guide from Jamaica who loves New York and told us all about Central Park with great passion and interest! He took us to see John Lennon’s Memorial and well as several other famous sites. And he gave us time to stop and walk around at each historical/famous site and he used our phones to snap pictures of us at each site!

5. NY Public Transportation: subway, uber, taxi, ferry, pedicab, walk

Open air hop-on-hop-off tour bus (as previously mentioned, includes ferry which goes closer to statue.) Great tour of city with optional earbuds. Get off and back on wherever you want! It’s great! We used all these NYC modes of transportation! Check Groupon for deals!

6. New York Street Food

Milkshake float if for no other reason than they’re not a thing back home!

Street food vendors/carts for Nathan’s Hotdogs and fries complete with French fry forks! Yes, really! Keeps your fingers clean for texting! Staten Island or anywhere on the street. Nathan’s, being kosher, is most likely the cleanest/healthiest New York hot dog you can find!

7. Affordable Lodging

Save money even with expensive bridge fair, you will save a lot of money! Stay in New Jersey at Comfort Suites, spacious clean rooms, good customer service, good complimentary breakfast (top your waffle with their bananas and other fresh fruits!). Good price. Especially with AAA. Or Air B&B or hostel. Comfort Suites provides a shuttle to New York City for $7 per person RT, which is great considering bridge fair is $20! But still less than staying in New York City!

8. See New York from New Jersey’s Hamilton Park!

Especially at night! Pictured above! Just do it! It’s spectacular and easy when you stay in Jersey!

Take it all in! Check it off your bucket list!

I♥️NY ~ and so will you!

I’ve included some links below to enhance your travels! Including a passport cover with built-in cell phone charger! I want one!

‘My Travel Blog’ is a subsidiary of ‘Family Heath and Wellness.’ The views expressed in My Travel Blog are most definitely those of Family Health and Wellness. Travel, it’s good for your health ♥️

Eat Your Veggies?

Yummy Nutrient Dense Superfoods Smoothie

Happy Nat’l Eat Your Vegetables Day!

If you don’t like them, hide them in a fruit/berry smoothie! Great way to get your children to consume their veggies! 

I like veggies but I prefer them raw for health reasons and my favorite way to get raw veggies everyday is in a smoothie! But I don’t particularly enjoy veggie-flavored-smoothies, so fruit and berries are in there with added health benefits and yumminess!

I just posted to my online vasculitis support group a couple days ago how much better I feel when I have my daily nutrient-dense-superfoods smoothie! I had gone a few days without and felt run down. Had a smoothie and felt more energetic, less lethargic, had better mental clarity – and so of course I was happier!

It really makes a difference in how you feel! Smoothies are a great way to get your veggies everyday!

Get a good blender if you don’t have one and make it part of your daily routine!

My smoothie today has all organic, all raw: mixed baby super greens, broccoli, mixed berries, banana, pineapple, carrot, acai, watermelon.

I don’t taste the veggies! Sometimes at first I do, but after marinating for a few minutes, all I taste is fruit and berries.

Note: If your smoothie tastes too green, add more pineapple.

I use mostly frozen organics from Trader Joe’s. Convenient, affordable and produces an ice-cold smoothie!

I buy organic bananas and when they get nicely spotted, I peel and slice them and toss them in a container and freeze them. If you buy them already spotted, they are discounted and perfect for smoothies – and spotted bananas have anti-cancer nutrients that unspotted bananas don’t have! Most people don’t care to eat them once they’re spotted but they are wonderful in smoothies!

So are avocados! They make your smoothie smoother! And add health benefits!

Adding chia seeds and other seeds to smoothies is great, too!

Eat your veggies or drink your veggies! Fruit and berries too! You will feel better!

A superfoods smoothie is the healthiest energy drink there is!

But they are pricey away from home. Investing in your own good blender is a great way to have them everyday and not break the bank.

Other great resources for affordable frozen organics are Grocery Outlet (opening soon near me, can’t wait!), Walmart and Costco.

For fresh produce this time of year, support your local farmers market! It just feels good to shop at them!

For more tips on healthy eating without breaking the bank, go here.

This started out as a status update to just say: Happy Nat’l Eat Your Veggies Day! But I got carried away ♥️

“You Can Do Hard” by Les Brown

Hiliary Hoffner: then and now ~

You Can Do Hard by Les Brown

“It’s hard…it’s hard changing your life. It’s hard picking up the pieces and starting all over again. It’s hard getting your mind together after you’ve gone through a life shaking experience (being a primary caregiver for someone; hearing a diagnosis you didn’t want; starting over again from a loss of any kind; being alone in a new place; wanting a friend.) But you can do hard. You can weather the storm. You will come through this.

Affirm to yourself every day ~ several times a day. No matter how hard it gets…I’m going to make it!! Stand up inside yourself and look yourself in the eyes and say “I can do hard!!” Exercise, pray, seek solitude, allow for periods of sadness…but know that you will get through this. Keep the faith; continue to work; and expect to make it through. You may not be able to change your circumstances or situation…but, you can change yourself! Hold on! You can do hard! You have GREATNESS within you!”
— Les Brown

The young woman, Hiliary Hoffner, pictured above, has the same rare life threatening condition that I have. We almost lost her a year ago. She was hospitalized for 4 1/2 months. She fought hard. She’s a warrior. Today she’s doing quite well, engaged to the man of her dreams planning a wonderful future together!

When you’re going through hard times, remember, this too shall pass!

For Coping Strategies, go here.

Photo Credit: Hiliary Hoffner

Summer Time Family Time

Summer Family Time
Summer Family Time

After a long and very wet winter and spring, summer is here, well unofficially here!

Summer is a great time to get out and explore and connect with nature, breathe fresh air, adventure, snap pictures, attend and host BBQ’s and bonfires! Enjoy the beach, mountains, lakes, rivers, ocean, forests. A great time to go on a cruise, go camping, do a road trip, day trip, picnic and travel abroad!

But please take time for family! We all get so busy that sometimes we don’t include family in our summer plans.

Only getting together with family for winter holidays is not enough!

When our children were littles, summer was all about family time! Camping and boating and road trips and outdoor adventures! Watching shooting stars! We bought a fire-pit and had many campfires every summer in our own backyard with s’mores and family time! And trips to go see grandparents and extended family!

Now my littles are all grown up, my littles are bigs now, and living here, there and everywhere.

If you live away from your parents or your children, it’s hard to get everyone together in one place at the same time, but try!

Try to plan ahead so you can meet up with family somewhere this summer all in one place! If it’s one of your homes, that’s great, it doesn’t have to be some fabulous vacation destination or cruise! But bonus if it is! It’s all about staying connected with your family, not necessarily the location. But if y’all can meet at a great location, that’s great!

An absolutely awesome and wonderful way to connect with family over the summer is a family camping trip! Invite grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins! Make it an annual event!

I am so lucky that my sons live in some great places! Last summer, we had a family weekend in Yosemite where one son lives and works. Then we had a family weekend in Laguna Beach where another son lives, works and goes to school. This year, there was a Hollywood weekend where another son lives off-and-on! One son couldn’t make it to Hollywood -and that happens- another son was unable to join us for Easter. Work and life get in the way all too often. But make the effort! Plan ahead.

If you can’t all get together, make the effort to see your family members individually this summer.

I have a dear friend with two adult daughters. They used to have an annual mother-and-both-daughters weekend but it has become two separate annual mother-daughter weekends, one daughter at a time. This works well for them! The sisters still connect on a regular basis as well.

Don’t get so busy that you don’t spend time with family this summer.

It’s not too late to make plans for July or August – or September even!

Make an effort to spend time with your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your nieces and nephews, your aunts and uncles and cousins, and your children – whether they are littles or bigs!

For those long trips with littles to visit family, entertainment in the car or on a flight is a great way to optimize happy travels -for all of you- and with today’s electronics, it’s easy. But there’s also the old-fashioned travel games such as magnetic chess and checkers and age appropriate toys. And Books!

And I can’t say enough about Mad Libs! Great and hilarious road trip/camping fun for the whole family! And they teach language basics: nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. Learning while having a blast with the whole family! Play in the car or around the campfire!

Each child with their own backpack or tote bag full of entertainment, snacks and water bottles helps with those long trips. And stop often to stretch legs!

Don’t forget pillows. I’ve included some links below.

Have a great summer! Take lots of family photos! 🌞♥️

Photo Credits: Sharon Britton Schoppman, Cinde Hagelberg, Erica Shepard, Heather Schmidt, Martine Nelissen, and me ~

My Travel Blog ~ Nubble Lighthouse & New England Fried Clams

Nubble Lighthouse and New England Fried Clams ~
Nubble Lighthouse and New England Fried Clams ~

Another Timehop inspired travel blog post! Nubble Lighthouse and New England Fried Clams!

Last year I was forced to take a road trip upon being discharged from Cleveland Clinic! I went there for a procedure on my trachea and on the flight there, I survived a heart attack… and so I was unable to fly home for two weeks… and so it resulted in a mandatory epic road trip!

We visited a few lighthouses, including this one, with the added bonus of the nearby Fox’s Lobster House. I highly recommend New England Fried Clams! At Fox’s Lobster House adjacent to the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine!

There’s nothing on the west coast that compares to New England fried clams! I don’t get it! Come on California! We can do better!

New England fried clams are so good that you can’t even carry on a conversation while eating them! Seriously!

While visiting the lighthouse, there are great photo opportunities! There’s easy walking and light hiking all around, easy access. It’s just very cool and lovely and easy – even for disabled folks!

If you’re in Maine, you have to visit the beautiful and famous Nubble Lighthouse in York Harbor and get some fried whole belly clams a block away at Fox’s!

It’s worth planning your next vacation around!

And just up the road thirty minutes is the most charming town of Kinnebunkport, go there too! You will want to move there!

Stay at the Franciscan Monastery! You don’t have to be religious, it’s just a great and affordable place to stay! Drive or walk around the grounds, it’s really cool and beautiful with statuary and shrines. And if you so choose, they have outdoor services in a very lovely setting. And enjoy the town and dining!

In Kennebunk, New Morning Natural Foods has the most amazing organic hot fresh baked blueberry muffins in the morning made with wild Maine blueberries! They are a must have! They also carry Yerba Mate for your travel needs! They also have organic produce and snacks to stock up on for your travels!

Fun Fact: the town is called Kennebunk until you cross the river and then it’s Kinnebunkport!

Happy Travels ♥️

I’ve included some links below to enhance your travels! Including a passport cover with built-in cell phone charger! I want one!

‘My Travel Blog’ is a subsidiary of ‘Family Heath and Wellness.’ The views expressed in My Travel Blog are most definitely those of Family Health and Wellness. Travel, it’s good for your health ♥️

My Travel Blog: Breakfast When You Travel

Irish Breakfast and New England Breakfast ~
Irish Breakfast and New England Breakfast ~

My first travel blog entry ~ inspired by Timehop!

A year ago today, my son, Dillon, had breakfast in Ireland, and my son, Hayden, and I had breakfast in New England (Maine). The Irish breakfast is on the left.

I love Ireland but their breakfasts leave a lot to be desired. The sausage is like a bland meat pudding in a casing and that black thing next to the egg that they call pudding is some sort of pastry made with blood. Yes, blood. I suppose it’s really good for you. The breakfast is usually served with copious amounts of toasted white bread. It’s also usually served with beans and tomatoes! That sausage though… I’m quite sure the breakfasts are why my ancestors left Ireland!

I really love Ireland, but when we road-tripped the U.K. as a family, we really preferred the wonderful markets packed with fabulous organic fruits that we stocked up on for breakfasts and snacks in the car! The berries in the U.K. are the best! 

I highly recommend buying fresh organic produce when you travel anywhere, especially the U.K.! It will save you money, plus it’s much more nutritious than restaurant food – and it saves time – you can eat between destinations! You can see more in a day that way!

The food in New England, on the other hand, is fabulous and wonderful – everywhere you go! If you’re a foodie, New England should be a destination goal! Plus it’s gorgeous and awesome! Go in the fall! Ireland is gorgeous in June, great weather in June!

I want to go back to both places everyday of my life!

I’ve included some links below to enhance your travels! Including a passport cover with built-in cell phone charger! I want one!

‘My Travel Blog’ is a subsidiary of ‘Family Heath and Wellness.’ The views expressed in My Travel Blog are most definitely those of Family Health and Wellness. Travel, it’s good for your health ♥️

8 Mood Boosting Strategies 

 

Sometimes we get in a bad mood and can’t pull out of it. But sometimes it just takes something simple to put you in a good mood! And avoid bad moods!

I’ve seen this stuff work! Even for people with medication-induced moodiness! Give them a try!

  1. Count Your Blessings

Scientifically proven to improve your mood and even combat depression. Counting 50 things you’re thankful for everyday really improves your mood! You don’t have to sit down and list them, you don’t have to jot them down. Just do it in your head, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing and if it takes all day, that’s ok. If you repeat items from previous lists, that’s ok, too! So when a bad mood strikes, get started! Think about what you’re thankful for! You will notice that it improves your mood! Great mood enhancer!

2. Exercise

Exercise improves not only your physical health, but it improves your mental wellbeing, as well. It boosts your mood. Go for a walk! For more on exercise, especially with health limitations, click here. 

3. Get Your Nature Fix

Getting out in nature is a great way to improve your mood! Take a nature walk or drive or hike! For more on the effects of Nature Deficit Disorder, click here. 

4. Meditation and Prayer 

Meditation and prayer helps alleviate anxiety, stress and depression. It really helps improve your mood. You can YouTube some guided meditations.

5. Eat Well

The foods we eat greatly affect how we feel both physically and mentally. Eat clean. Eliminate fast food and junk food. Get your nutrient-dense-super-foods smoothie/juice on! For more on this, follow my blog!

6. Aromatherapy 

I used to be a skeptic, but aromatherapy is an effective treatment protocol! Now Brand: Cheer Up Buttercup is a blend of essential oils that improve mood. There’s a link below.

7 Foods that Improve Mood

  • Avocado
  • Grapes
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Raw Nuts
  • Wild-Caught Salmon
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Strawberries

8. Herbs and Supplements

  • Lavender
  • Omega-3 Fish Oil
  • B Vitamins
  • Vit D
  • St John’s Wort
  • 5-HTP

I’ve included some links below to some of my favorite brands of these supplements.

Use this great drug interaction checker before using supplements with medications:

https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

For more on moods and coping, go here.

Here’s to good moods for all ♥️

References

Dr. Josh Axe. Dr. Mehmet Oz

Mom, You should Blog about Eggs!

Mom, you should blog about eggs!

So that’s exactly what I’m doing for National Egg Day today!

  • What’s Up with That Bad Reputation?
  • What About the Yolk?
  • Did You Know…
  • Duck Eggs
  • Health Benefits
  • Free-range eggs vs cage-raised eggs
  • Fun Fact about Refrigeration of Eggs
  • How to Successfully Peel Boiled Eggs
  • One of My Favorite Egg Recipes: My Momma’s Poached Eggs

What’s Up with That Bad Reputation?

Eggs have a bad reputation for cholesterol but it’s a very unfortunate reputation as organic free-range eggs actually help regulate and control cholesterol, as free-range hens lay omega-3 eggs! And omega-3’s regulate cholesterol!

Part of the reason free-range hens’ eggs are higher in omega-3’s is because they feed on natural food sources provided by nature!

What About the Yolk?

The entire egg is good for you! Yes, even the yolk! The egg white without the egg yolk is not as beneficial as it is with the yolk! I would like to shout that from a mountain top! Eat the whole egg! You’re seriously missing out on health benefits when you only eat egg whites!

“If you toss out your egg yolks, you’re also tossing out some of the most nutritious parts of the egg. The good cholesterol and saturated fat in animal foods like egg yolks are quite beneficial for your health.” – Dr. Mercola

Did you know…

that the protein in eggs is especially beneficial for preventing muscle wasting and recovery? It’s used in geriatric supplements for this reason! Very good for athletes!

Following a severe illness, my son had an extremely hard time retaining muscle. We started loading him up with eggs and he was able to build and retain muscle!

Duck Eggs

If you’re allergic to chicken eggs, or you want an egg with even more protein and health benefits, consider duck eggs. As pictured above. Most people who can’t tolerate chicken eggs can tolerate duck eggs. And they are wonderful to bake with! Makes a run-of-the-mill cake amazing! They are wonderful for everything except scrambling. The texture of the yolk when boiled is just so nice! There’s an Amazon link below. That’s a pretty good deal on them and if 4 dozen is too many, split the order with a friend or two!

Ten Health Benefits of Free-Range Organic Eggs

  1. Anti-inflammatory
  2. Reduces risk of heart disease
  3. Reduces chances of developing metabolic syndrome (fights disease)
  4. Improves eye health
  5. Promotes weight loss
  6. Liver health
  7. Brain health
  8. Skin health
  9. Protection against muscle wasting
  10. Muscle recovery

Free-range eggs vs cage-raised eggs

Free-range eggs contain:

  • ⅓ less cholesterol
  • ¼ less saturated fat
  • ⅔ more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta-carotene

“I would strongly encourage you to AVOID ALL NON-ORGANIC eggs which are labeled “omega-3 eggs,” as they are some of the least healthy for you. These eggs typically come from chickens that are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized.” Dr. Mercola

Organic, free-range, farm-fresh, is your best choice. Check your local farmers market or health food store.

Fun Fact

In many parts of the world, eggs are not refrigerated! It was so surprising when we were in the U.K. to see eggs in the grocery stores and markets, on shelves, without refrigeration! The reason is that eggs have a protective cuticle that keep them fresh without refrigeration! Once the egg is washed, the cuticle is removed and the egg requires refrigeration, which is common practice in the U.S. But we buy farm-fresh, unwashed eggs, and so now, into the pantry they go – no longer taking up space in the refrigerator!

How to Successfully Peel Boiled Eggs

  1. Add baking soda to your water
  2. Bring to a boil before adding eggs
  3. Add eggs gently with a slotted spoon or a spaghetti/egg spoon
  4. Boil to your specified liking
  5. Place them in ice water, keep adding ice as needed – this halts the cooking time so if you prefer your yolks well-done, add to the cooking time
  6. Chill in ice water for at least 15 minutes before peeling
  7. Roll the egg to create many cracks
  8. Peel carefully

Note: The fresher the egg, the harder to peel.

I’m going to share with you one of my favorite egg recipes, a little different than the usual poached egg method, the way my momma made them, in milk! 

Poached Eggs in Milk

Organic Ingredients

A slice of bread of your choice, gluten-free, etc
1- 1 1/2 cups milk, as needed
Salt and pepper and your favorite egg spices
2 eggs

Directions

Toast the bread and set on a plate. Butter lightly, if desired.
Meanwhile, liberally season milk and bring to a simmer in a sauce pan over med-high heat. When it begins to simmer, drop in eggs, 1 at a time. I like to crack them into a small bowl and then add them to the milk.
Once the milk begins to simmer for the second time, poach for 2 minutes more. Do not let the milk boil over. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the milk. They will be done once they look solid on the outside.
Drop the poached eggs on top of the toast, then pour about ½ cup or less of the hot milk over the eggs.

Click here for another great recipe using eggs!

And watch for more egg recipes to come!

Enjoy ♥️

References

Dr Joseph Mercola, Dr. Josh Axe

 

Delicious Medicinal Cinnamon Toast 

World’s Best Cinnamon Toast

Not only is this cinnamon toast medicinal, it really is delicious! It’s the recipe recommended in my “Bag of Tricks” for fighting colds, flus and allergies!  

Another one of my recipe makeovers! Simple, Delicious, and extremely healthy.

Even yummier than the old-fashioned-traditional cinnamon toast which was heavily laden with processed white sugar and often made with refined white bread. Really unhealthy! This recipe is not only healthy, it’s medicinal! It fights colds and flus and pollen allergies! And more!

Ingredients

  • Toasted organic non-gmo whole grain bread of your choice or gluten-free, etcetera (nonorganic GMO bread is pro-inflammatory, avoid it!)
  • Organic virgin coconut oil (virgin is yummy while refined is not yummy)
  • Raw local honey (available at farmers markets, local apiaries, and natural food stores)
  • Organic cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Spread toast liberally with coconut oil
  2. Drizzle liberally with honey
  3. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon

Note: For added health benefits and flavor, try Chocolate Cinnamon Toast by sprinkling with organic cocoa!

I’ve had this when I feel a cold coming on and I feel it being stopped in its tracks upon eating a slice of this delicious medicinal toast! Don’t wait for cold and flu season, enjoy it year-round, as it has many health benefits! Raw local honey fights seasonal pollen allergies!

*You may want to cut back on the quantity of honey though, if consuming regularly, or if you have diabetes.

*Increase the cinnamon if you have diabetes!

Some of the Benefits

Organic non-gmo whole grain toast: anti-inflammatory, reduces chronic inflammation, gastrointestinal health, lowers risk of diabetes, high in fiber

Coconut oil: antimicrobial, fights colds and flus, anti-inflammatory, long list of health benefits

Raw local honey: cough suppressant, anti-allergen, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, rich in enzymes

Cinnamon: antimicrobial, fights colds and flus, anti-inflammatory, protects against diabetes

Cocoa: fights allergies, antioxidants, blood vessel health

Note: I’ve included some links to some my favorite brands. That is a great deal on the coconut oil!

Enjoy ♥️

References

Dr. Josh Axe, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Andrew Weil

At Some Point You or a Loved One Will Need Medical Care: What You Need to Know 

Important Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Medical Care

One of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me was teaching me how to survive and thrive when medical care is needed – with advocacy, exercising my rights as a patient, second opinions, research – and good manners.

My mom never allowed a doctor to be in complete control of her medical care decisions just because s/he had ‘MD’ behind his/her name.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had to have a mastectomy and start chemo and radiation right away, she asked for a second opinion. She also went to the library and checked out every book on cancer treatment in print, as it was the 70’s and we didn’t have Google. She checked out medical journals and researched her options. She learned that they had a great and successful cancer treatment in Mexico that was illegal in the U.S. She learned how to eat and juice to combat cancer. She jumped through hoops until she was able to obtain the Mexico cancer treatment. She beat breast cancer without chemo, without radiation, without mastectomy. And without losing a single hair or ever being sick! Not one day was she sick! She was healthy through it all! Go figure!

I was only nine years old, but this spoke volumes to me.

My mom advocated for many friends and relatives over the years, demanding the medical care they needed when healthcare providers fell short.

I learned a lot from her example. Valuable lessons.

Never blindly trust a doctor or nurse. They are only human and they make mistakes.

Q. What do you call someone who graduated at the bottom of their class from medical school?

A. Doctor!

The Nurse from Hell: My Mom to the Rescue

With my third baby, I had placenta previa, where the placenta is born before the baby and both mom and baby bleed to death in seven minutes. I was scheduled for a c-section with orders to go to the nearest hospital by ambulance for an emergency c-section should my water break. And so my water broke and we called 911 and went by ambulance to the nearest hospital where the nurse wouldn’t allow me to see a doctor! I explained that I had placenta previa and needed an emergency c-section and she told me I would be giving birth naturally. Yes, she was the dingbat nurse from hell. And I was in no position to stand up and walk out and catch a ride to the next closest hospital. I had to stay prone. I was alone as my husband had to wait for our childcare provider to arrive before he could join me at the hospital. So I called my mom. It was around 4am. She was sound asleep but she managed to get dressed and to the hospital in less than a half-hour. And she advocated for me and quickly convinced those dingbat nurses that it was in their best interest to have me transferred by ambulance to a hospital that would provide proper medical care for me and not put my baby’s life and my life in danger for one more minute.

Had I listened to that nurse, my third and fourth sons and I probably wouldn’t be here.

My mom was the one to have in your corner if you needed an advocate for your medical care. But she also taught me how to advocate for myself and I’ve had to many times over the years.

They Told Me to Abort

When I was pregnant with my twins, I was told the pregnancy was causing my breathing issues and I needed to abort right away. But I had the breathing issues before I was pregnant so the pregnancy didn’t cause the problem and I surmised that an abortion wouldn’t solve the problem. They also said I needed to have a tracheotomy right away although my breathing crisis had passed a week prior and I was now breathing ok. I just got up and walked out of the room. Didn’t say a word. Just walked out. As I was walking away, I heard my husband tell those doctors, “well, looks like that’s a no, bye now.” I didn’t even say good-bye.

Had I listened to those doctors, my twins wouldn’t be here.

Bad Hospital

Another time I was hospitalized for days and never saw a doctor! They starved me everyday for procedures that were cancelled everyday. I asked to see a doctor everyday and they never came! I would call for a nurse when I needed a breathing treatment and wait forever while in respiratory distress. I was going downhill. I finally called my mom and my husband to come bust me out. I went to another hospital and got the medical care I needed.

Psycho Quack

And then last year my trachea was both collapsed and stenosed (inflamed and narrowed). The collapse was more than likely due to the years of stenosis and the hospital I was in wouldn’t do a procedure I needed called a tracheal dilation and insisted instead on a permanent tracheostomy which would render me mute for life. But I questioned them and I researched from my hospital bed thanks to Google and my smart phone and I made phone calls and sent emails to other doctors in other hospitals and got second and third opinions and there was a much better option –the dilation– and the good folks at Cleveland Clinic said, “we got this! Come to us!” But a psychopath quack at my current hospital lied to me and told me that the doctors in Cleveland agreed that tracheostomy/muteness was my only option of walking out of the hospital alive! But I had the emails from the doctors in Cleveland saying they could do the dilation and no way should I have the tracheostomy! I read the emails to them. You could have cut the air with a knife. So I busted outa that hospital with the help of my husband and two of my sons – and one son flew with me to Cleveland where they promptly fixed he problem and provided excellent medical care – after begging these other doctors to fix it for over two decades – before it was so severe.

I can breathe well now! And I can still talk!

Had I not done my research, had I not sought more opinions, and had I listened to those doctors, I wouldn’t be able to talk and I’d have a permanent tracheostomy.

Human Error

Recently, a nurse called to schedule gallbladder removal surgery for me. But I questioned her and as she looked over the doctor’s notes, she gushed an apology, she had read the doctor’s notes wrong! She’s a good nurse, but she’s human, she made a mistake! I’ve been symptom-free for over a year, not needing my gallbladder removed!

Had I blindly gone along and not asked questions, I would have had the unnecessary surgery and lost an organ.

Ask questions! Advocate for yourself!

I used acupuncture and herbs to resolve my gallstone issues!

Another Example of Human Error

My latest example of why it’s so important to advocate for yourself. I’ve started back at physical therapy because I have adhesive capsulitis, aka frozen shoulder, thanks to medication side effects. So my first few sessions, I felt like they weren’t really addressing my shoulder issues, so I spoke up and found out my order was written wrong! Somehow my shoulder issues weren’t on my requisition. So she worked on my shoulder for about a half-hour and added exercises specific to my shoulder issues. And my shoulder was much improved after just one session! Speak up when things seem amiss.

Had I not said anything, my shoulder issues would have continued to go unaddressed.

And it’s Important to Teach our Kids to Advocate for Themselves

My youngest son had a skiing accident which required stitches. The ski lodge medic butterflied it. He skied all day with his injury. And at the end of the day when he got his stitches at an urgent medical care facility, he advocated for himself, refused unnecessary vaccinations and educated the nurses on vaccinations and the laws regarding vaccinations, which he knew more about than they did! Every time I felt like I needed to speak up and defend his rights, he did it himself! And he did it very respectfully. He informed them that he would need to research the vaccine before allowing it. At barely fifteen years old! I was so proud of him!

Mom or dad wont always be there, it’s important that our kids know their medical care rights and how to advocate for themselves.

Firing Medical Professionals

There’s been times that I’ve been in the hospital and had to fire a doctor or nurse or respiratory therapist due to shoddy care.

Refusing Tests and Procedures

I’ve questioned and refused unnecessary procedures and medications. Including some blood draws because every four hours isn’t always necessary, sometimes it is but not always, and if you don’t ask, they just do it. I want an explanation.

Know your rights

  • It’s your right to refuse anything when you’re a patient.
  • It’s your right and responsibility to ask questions.
  • It’s your right to fire folks and have them replaced.
  • It’s your right to second and third and even more opinions.
  • It’s your right to contact doctors at other hospitals.
  • It’s your right to leave a hospital without discharge.
  • It’s your right to go to another hospital, even out-of-state. See how-to here.
  • It’s your right to ask to be transferred to another hospital – they may not comply – in which case you do it yourself with the help of friends or family.
  • It’s your right to request an advocate.

Professional Advocates

There are advocate agencies, but they are usually pretty pricey. But you can call around your area. Some hospitals provide professional patient advocates and you can request one, contact patient services. If a professional is unavailable and you’re struggling with advocating for yourself, call a friend or family member.

Last year I was hospitalized 200 miles from home and there were meetings with doctors that required I have an advocate other than myself, my son was living in the area and got off work several times to attend these meetings with me.

When there are “meetings you definitely need an advocate other than yourself.

Hit Record

I would highly recommend recording said meetings and other talks with doctors because it’s hard to remember everything and it’s in your best interest to do so. All smart phones have “tape-recording” capabilities.

Take notes and write down questions to ask when the doctor/team of doctors come in. Ask for paper and pen.

Healthcare Providers as Advocates

Many times my nurses, respiratory therapists, and doctors, have stepped up to the plate and advocated for me when things were amiss! Love them!

Friends and Family

If you have a loved one in the hospital, try to be there as much as possible to advocate for them. And keep them company! It’s great to have a friend or family member advocate for you.

“One thing I tell people is if you have a sick family member, don’t leave them alone in the hospital. Even when there are visiting hours where you’re supposed to go home, I’ll tell people, find any way that you can to stay anyway, because when you’re sick is the last moment when, as a patient, you’re able to fend for yourself.” – Dr Atul Gawande

Be at the hospital with loved ones as much as possible. When you have to leave, try to arrange for someone else to be there. Attend doctor appointments with loved ones who need an extra set of ears or advocacy. For follow-up appointments after a hospitalization, having an extra set of ears or someone who can help describe your symptoms/progress is valuable.

And when there’s no one who can advocate for you, you absolutely must advocate for yourself. I’ve had to many times. Remember to hit record when talking to doctors.

Extras

I’ve also learned to ask for stuff they don’t prescribe or offer. Such as vitamins and probiotics! They don’t prescribe them but if you ask, you get them! If they stock them.

Most hospitals have items to borrow or check out such as laptops – but if you don’t ask, it’s not always offered. Ask for volunteer services or patient services. They’ve brought me coloring pages and markers! (I’ve included links at the end for a wonderful adult coloring book, good to take with you, or take to a loved one in the hospital, they help pass the time and really help alleviate anxiety!) They have books and magazines and other things to make your stay more pleasant. But you have to ask or it seems they don’t show up until you’re being discharged. They are volunteers so be kind.

And When You Have Good Care, Say Thank You!

My nurses, doctors, housekeeping staff, food service staff, et al, are amazed when I thank them! They rarely get thanked! Are you kidding me?! Another thing my mom taught me was good manners! Good manners and treating my medical care providers with respect has gained me private rooms, extra pillows, extra chairs for my visitors, over the limit of visitors, musician visitors and other perks!

I had a nurse tell me I was bumped up on the waiting list and got a private room because I was such a pleasant and nice person. One nurse even referred to me as ‘lovely’ and we are friends to this day! I’ve had great nurses request me because I’m respectful and friendly and I say thank you. It’s really nice to have a great nurse request you instead of getting the luck of the draw nurse.

Show some respect and appreciation for these people who devote their lives to caring for others. They want to be at home with their families or outside enjoying nature, but they are devoted to helping others achieve health and wellness. It’s not just a job, it’s their calling, they are worth their weight in gold and they deserve our gratitude. I greet them when they come in and thank them when they leave and strike up conversations whenever I can. I even thank phlebotomists… they’re just doing their job in an effort to help you.

So I want to pass along to you the valuable gifts my mother passed along to me and I’m passing along to my kids: Patient self-advocacy, knowing and exercising your rights, the importance of research – and second, third, fourth opinions. And saying thank you!

Here’s to surviving as a patient ♥️

Reference: My mom, Bonnie Purington Conlow Graig, in loving memory, thanks mom  ♥️