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Being active is something that is important to Debbie Behnke of Lake Crystal.   Exercise and a healthy lifestyle helped her lose more than 100 pounds.  And, at the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center she is the corporate manager, a water aerobics instructor and lifeguard.

Something happened to Debbie three years ago that altered her active lifestyle.  She was bringing a chair up from her basement when her leg suddenly got “stuck” and she fell forward.  She thought she pulled a muscle.

Debbie got to a point where she could not do the things she had been able to do.

“I had so much pain I would literally cry,” she said.

Not being able to exercise led to some weight gain.  Debbie said her husband suggested she see a chiropractor.  She also tried acupuncture but neither was providing any relief.

Debbie next went to The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic in Mankato to see Dr. Steven Curtis.  An MRI showed arthritis in her hip.  Cortisone injections were done but Debbie still did not have any relief from the pain in her hip.

Dr. Stevens then referred Debbie to his colleague, Dr. Kyle Swanson.  After an exam he determined Debbie needed hip surgery.

Through the OrthoEdge program Debbie had her hip replacement surgery at River’s Edge Hospital in St. Peter in March 2015.  Debbie recalled something Dr. Swanson said to her husband post -surgery, “I can see why she was in so much pain.  The ball joint inside the socket was flat and was bone-on-bone.”    Debbie said this was not picked up on the MRI and was seen during her surgery.

Debbie had her surgery on a Tuesday and was discharged on Friday.   “It was awesome,” she said about her stay at River’s Edge Hospital.  “The staff communicated well to each other and was very caring.”

Debbie’s OrthoEdge care team consisted of Dr. Swanson, a physician’s assistant, the hospitalist, nurses and physical therapists.

“I speak highly of it,” Debbie says when asked about OrthoEdge, the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic and River’s Edge Hospital’s orthopedic program.

Today Debbie says she is at about 80 percent.  She is working, teaching water aerobics and lifeguarding.  While she knows there are some things she will not be able to do – like cross her legs or ankles when sitting and jogging, she is looking forward to continuing her healthy lifestyle without pain in her hip.

 

 

 

 

“I tell all my friends, ‘go to St. Peter,’” says Irene Lord of North Mankato.

Irene Lord’s first visit to River’s Edge Hospital was in 2008.  She was a swing bed patient following a knee replacement surgery at another local hospital.

She remembered the high level of care she received at River’s Edge so when it came time to have her other knee replaced in 2013 and Dr. Steven Curtis from the Orthopaedic  & Fracture Clinic suggested she have her surgery at River’s Edge she was thrilled.

“It was wonderful,” she said about having her knee replacement at River’s Edge Hospital and about the care she received.

“I was well taken care of,” Lord said.

Some of the things that stood out for Lord was how she was shown how to get in and out of the shower, the size of her private room and how kind and caring the nurses are.

Now, two years later, Lord and her husband are moving toward a healthier lifestyle.  “I feel more active with no pain in my knees,” she said.

They eat healthier and watch their calorie intake.  She is proud to say they have each lost more than 20 pounds.

When Irene Lord tells people about River’s Edge, she tells them how nice it is.

“I hope they would have the same experience I did.”

 

 

“What can I do to help you?”

These few words spoke volumes to Dennis, a patient from Mankato who recently had knee replacement surgery through the OrthoEdge program offered through River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic in St. Peter and the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic in Mankato.

Dennis said the first step in his knee replacement progress was to find the best man to do his knee.  That man was OFC’s Dr. Kyle Swanson.   “I had never heard of River’s Edge,” Dennis said after he learned where the surgery would take place.

His was the last surgery of the day.  He said everything went smoothly and he had very personal care.

“There are people to mitigate the pain and make you feel better,” he said.  “They all have their own talents.  It was personal.  There was a real motivation to be part of the group.”

That motivation from the staff carried over to the care Dennis received.  “Some of this stuff you can’t teach,” he said of his care at River’s Edge.  “Everybody’s standing out.”

Dennis said River’s Edge is “a little jewel.”  From the patient rooms, the linens and the staff Dennis said his stay was very nice.

“They motivate you with care, kindness and information.”

When you were a kid did you run through your yard trying to catch butterflies?  It was such a joy to have a big, beautiful monarch perch on my hand, even if it was just for a second.

My kids don’t chase monarch butterflies in the yard because there are not that many around. Monarch numbers are falling because the plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and the caterpillars eat  – milkweed – is being eradicated from ditches and prairies and ag land because of pesticides and land development.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic is partnering with the Monarch Joint Venture, a group from the University of Minnesota, to create monarch habitats on the hospital campus and to encourage others in St. Peter to do the same.  The project is called Mission Monarch.

At River’s Edge we value care, collaboration, stewardship and integrity when it comes to the health and well-being of the people we care for.  Those values extend out to the community and that is one of the reasons why we are taking the steps to become good stewards in the conservation and restoration of the monarch population.

All of this starts with planting a few seeds.

A good monarch habitat should have milkweed plants along with other nectar plants that bloom from late spring in to fall.  Milkweed has gotten a bad rap the last few years because if it is not properly managed, it can be invasive.  Wendy Caldwell from the Monarch Joint Venture recommends 4-5 milkweed plants in the habitat area.

There are many varieties of milkweed but these are some of the best ones to plant in our area:

whorled milkweedWhorled milkweed – white to greenish flowers; plant in sandy, clayey or rocky soil.

 

swamp milkweedSwamp milkweed – bright pink flowers; river banks, flood plains of lakes, streams, ponds, marshes and other wetland prairie areas.

 

butterfly milkweedButterfly milkweed – bright orange flowers; best in pastures, prairies, roadsides, waste grounds.

 

sullivans milkweedSullivans or prairie milkweed – pinkish to purple flowers;  ideal for Minnesota, plant on prairies.

 

poke milkweedPoke milkweed – white flowers with lavender weep down; best along woodland edges and woodlands.

 

Add some nectar plants like blazing star (Liatris), coneflower or zinnias to the garden and you will see butterflies filling up for their migration back to Mexico.

So, where do you get milkweed?  Luckily Traverse Des Sioux Garden Center in St. Peter will have milkweed plants available in their store by May 1.  The plants will be growing in one gallon pots.

In the fall you can harvest the milkweed seeds to plant yourself or give to a friend.  Here’s how to harvest your own seeds:

  • Harvest in early fall
  • Get permission from landowner if harvesting pods from private land
  • Wear gloves! Milkweed sap can be harmful to your eyes
  • Seeds should be brown
  • To separate the seeds from the silks place in a clear container with a couple of coins. Cover then shake until the seeds are at the bottom and a fluff ball is on top.
  • Sow the seeds on bare soil before the first snowfall or place in a labeled container with air holes in a cool dry place.If you would like to participate in Mission Monarch contact Stephanie Hill, Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic at 934-7645 or shill@rehc.org. Email photos of your butterfly gardens and butterflies and we will post them on the Mission Monarch Facebook page – www.facebook.com/missionmonarch.com

For more information on monarch conservation efforts visit www.monarchjointventure.org or www.monarchwatch.org.

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic. The information and suggestions contained in this blog are not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment of qualified medical professionals. Consult with your primary care provider before starting a new diet or fitness program.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic provides quality health services that value all dimensions of health including mind, body and spirit. Our goal is to improve the health of all individuals we serve through continuous, measurable improvement in patient satisfaction, clinical quality, patient safety and operational effectiveness.

 

There have been several stories in the news the last few weeks about location accuracy of 911 calls made from cell phones.   A recent story on KARE 11 stated that in more than half the 911 calls made from a cell phone did not show the correct location of the caller.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to tour the Nicollet County Sherriff’s 911 Dispatch center.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of calls that came in during that early afternoon time.

As the calls came in, the supervisor explained how they 911 system works and how emergency personnel are dispatched.  Then she demonstrated a 911 call with a cell phone while in the dispatch center.  The location that came on the screen was from a cell phone tower about a mile away.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 70 percent of 911 calls are made from a cell phone and that the first address to come up is a cell phone tower.

Here are some tips to help you help dispatchers find you faster in case you need to call 911 with your cell phone –

  • Tell the dispatcher your location right away.
  • If traveling in an unfamiliar area be observant of the mile markers along the highway, intersections, distinguishing landmarks, etc. This will help the dispatcher locate you faster.
  • Give the dispatcher your cell phone number in case you get disconnected.
  • Do NOT auto program 911 into your cell phone. Most phones now come with an “emergency call” option.
  • Create a call list on your phone called “In Case of Emergecy” or ICE with a list of people who should be called if you’re involved in an accident.

 

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic. The information and suggestions contained in this blog are not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment of qualified medical professionals. Consult with your primary care provider before starting a new diet or fitness program.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic provides quality health services that value all dimensions of health including mind, body and spirit. Our goal is to improve the health of all individuals we serve through continuous, measurable improvement in patient satisfaction, clinical quality, patient safety and operational effectiveness.

Positive attitude and preparation lead to successful double knee replacement
 By Stephanie Hill

Gene Krohnberg of St. Peter injured his knees when he was in his 20s.  It wasn’t until December 8, 2014 that the retired teacher had a bilateral knee replacement at River’s Edge Hospital through the OrthoEdge program.

A virus in both knees sent Krohnberg to the hospital in September.  He said it was then that he knew it was necessary to have both of his knees replaced.

Prior to attending Joint Camp, OrthoEdge’s joint replacement education class, Krohnberg said he talked to some people who had also had knee replacement surgery.

“I did lots of exercises ahead of time,” he said.  “It helped in recovery.”

Following surgery Krohnberg stayed at River’s Edge for three days.  The day of surgery he got up and started his recovery.

“I knew what was going to happen,” he said. “The first time getting up was painful but once I was up it was better.”

Krohnberg said he would recommend the OrthoEdge program and River’s Edge Hospital to anyone.

“The nurses were so great and so friendly.  The aides were a lot of fun,” Krohnberg said.  “The facility is so good.  The rooms are big and I felt safe. There is always someone around to help.”

Since having his surgery Krohnberg says he is looking to spring and summer.  In the meantime, he is keeping up with his recovery by going to LiveWell Fitness, the medical gym at River’s Edge.

To others having joint replacement Krohnberg offers the following advice, “Exercise a head of time and have a positive attitude.”

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic provides quality health services that value all dimensions of health including mind, body and spirit. Our goal is to improve the health of all individuals we serve through continuous, measurable improvement in patient satisfaction, clinical quality, patient safety and operational effectiveness.

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic. The information and suggestions contained in this blog are not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment of qualified medical professionals. Consult with your primary care provider before starting a new diet or fitness program.

A new knee allows for active retirement
By Stephanie Hill

A person can live with chronic joint pain for so long before a decision needs to be made to do something about that pain and discomfort.

“My knee has been bothering me for years,” said Darvin Wicks of Le Sueur. “It really got painful in the last 6 or 7 months so I decided last summer to call Dr. Springer.”

Wicks is “retired” from the restaurant business – he owned a diner in Le Sueur for more than a decade.  Soon he will be retiring from his full-time job of driving motor coach for a southern Minnesota tour bus company.

The first appointment Wicks had with Dr. Springer was at River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic.  After an X-ray, Dr. Springer told Wicks “there’s nothing left.”  The cortisone shot he received lasted three weeks.

The plan Wicks had was to continue to work full time throughout the summer and have knee replacement surgery in the fall when work slowed down.

Wicks has always been active.  He does a lot of walking, although he said his knee pain put a stop to that a few months before surgery.  He also put a new roof on his house before surgery.  “That didn’t help much,” he said.

In September he scheduled his surgery and on November 20, 2014, Darvin Wicks got a new knee.

His surgery took place at River’s Edge Hospital.  “The nurses took good care of me,” he said.

Like all OrthoEdge joint replacement patients, Wicks attended joint camp about a week prior to his surgery.

“It was interesting to find out what I was going to go through.  It was informative and I learned a few things,” he said.

Wicks stayed in the hospital three days following surgery which is typical for most knee replacement patients.  He started physical therapy at River’s Edge the day of surgery then continued therapy in Le Sueur after discharge.   He finished physical therapy in mid-January.

Wicks says he will not do anything different now that he has a new knee.  But he does know one thing now that he’s retired, “I have more time to do what I want to do, like spend more time with my grandkids.”

Having a new knee will certainly help him keep up with them.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic provides quality health services that value all dimensions of health including mind, body and spirit. Our goal is to improve the health of all individuals we serve through continuous, measurable improvement in patient satisfaction, clinical quality, patient safety and operational effectiveness.

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic. The information and suggestions contained in this blog are not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment of qualified medical professionals. Consult with your primary care provider before starting a new diet or fitness program.

Better to prevent it than treat it.

On January 6, 2014 Gov. Mark Dayton ordered all schools be closed due to extreme cold temperatures that blanketed the state.

Fast forward one year later and Minnesota is again facing double digit air and wind chill temperatures for much of this week. When wind chill values of 20 to 40 below zero are forecasted it is time to think about protecting yourselves, children and pets from frostbite.

The temperature the morning of January 5, 2015 was -11 and with the wind chill it felt like -25. Kids headed out the door with extra layers to keep them warm while waiting for the bus and plumes of exhaust filled the air as cars were warmed for the chilly drive to work.

While bundling up when you know you have to be outside is a good idea, it is important to note that frostbite can occur within 30 minutes when temperatures are as low they were on Monday. Dress in layers and go inside immediately if you get wet.

There are three degrees of exposure – frostnip, superficial frostbite and deep frostbite. People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at increased risk for frostbite. Certain medications also increase the risk.

“Superficial frostbite results in very little tissue loss and heals quickly with little to no need for medical treatment. Deep frostbite has greater consequences; one can expect significant tissue loss and often results in amputations to manage the injury. Do not rub the skin and do not pop blisters,” said Carrie Lager, Manager of Emergency Services at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic.

Frostbite most often occurs in areas furthest from the body’s core – fingers, hands, ears, nose, feet and toes. It begins when blood vessels in the affected area begin to contract, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the area. Loss of feeling in the area occurs then color changes – pale to blue –will begin.

“Avoid alcohol before going out in the cold weather or during as it may keep you from recognizing the symptoms of frostbite,” Lager said.

Treatment of frostbite includes a physical exam of the exposed area. In some cases the patient is admitted to the hospital for observation. Warming of the exposed area is done by placing the frostbitten area in warm water (100-105 degrees Fahrenheit). In 3-5 imaging of the area is done to identify any tissue damage after rewarming. If getting immediate medical attention is not an option, get out of the cold as quickly as possible and, if there is no risk of refreezing, warm the area in warm water to thaw the exposed area. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic provides quality health services that value all dimensions of health including mind, body and spirit. Our goal is to improve the health of all individuals we serve through continuous, measurable improvement in patient satisfaction, clinical quality, patient safety and operational effectiveness.

By Stephanie Hill

On January 1 I, like many of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, made a New Year’s resolution. My resolution was to take charge of my health and focus on being more active.

I have tried this same thing over and over again. I go fast out of the gate and lose interest and motivation after about 6 weeks.

This time is going to be different. I set reasonable goals and am staying motivated. So what is the difference? It’s my FitBit. According to Business Insider, 3.3 million wearable fitness trackers were sold in 2014. Some of the most popular are the FitBit, Jawbone and Garmin. These devices also have mobile app that syncs with the device to record your progress toward your goals.

I am not endorsing the Fitbit as the best wearable device, but I do love mine. It tracks my steps, my sleep, calories burned and it has an alarm clock. The mobile app and desktop application allow me to set calorie intake goals and log the food and I water I consume. I can also specifically track activities – like using the treadmill or elliptical machine at the gym.

The Journal of the American Medical Association said in a recent article that wearable devices are designed to facilitate health behavior change. The idea is that by tracking the things I listed above, the user becomes educated about their health and will be motivated to make better choices.

SPOILER ALERT: The Fitbit or any other wearable fitness tracker is not a magic device that suddenly gets you moving more and makes pounds disappear into thin air. You have to start it and keep doing it.

Okay, that sounds a little harsh but it’s true. As a chronic stopper and starter I know from experience. The best way sustain physical activity and healthy eating is to change your habits.

Notice I did not say “create new habits.” CHANGE the ones you have. In the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business by Charles Duhigg, habits are described as a three step loop – the cue, the routine and reward. You should use the same cue and the same reward but change the routine.

“Attempts to give up snacking, for instance, will often fail unless there’s a new routine to satisfy old cues and reward urges,” Duhigg writes.

So what does that mean? When you feel hungry are you really hungry? Most likely you’re not. The cue is your stomach rumbling. The old routine is grabbing the bag of chips and eating half of what’s left. The reward is the growling from your gut is gone. Let’s switch it up – you feel hungry (cue). Instead of chips you walk to the water cooler and fill your cup with 8 ounces of cool, filtered water (new routine). The reward – your stomach is full and you’ve increased your water intake by 8 ounces.

You can do this with activity as well. At the end of a long work day the first thing you want to do is kick off your shoes and put your feet up. RIGHT? I know I do. Well, kick off those shoes and put on your tennis shoes and take a walk around the block (or two). Your heart will start pumping and you’ll have more energy for the evening.

Of course you can change your bad habits without having a fitness tracker around your wrist. For me it was a personal decision. I need to see my results to stay motivated. When I reach my daily step goal before bed each night I am motivated to do it again the next day – but get them in sooner.

How and what you change to be healthy is up to you. Stick with it – no matter how many times you stop and start.

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Marketing at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic. The information and suggestions contained in this blog are not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment of qualified medical professionals. Consult with your primary care provider before starting a new diet or fitness program.