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Getting the most out of your appointment

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

I was recently asked if I could provide advice on how patients could get the most out of their Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center visits.  In reality, I think most of us have been patients at least once in our lives. The list of tips I provide is comprehensive. However, critical information may be missing.  If you notice omissions, please respond with your own advice in the comments since we can all learn from each other.
 
One of the most important MS life survival lessons is that we are all part of the same team. As a member of that team, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to live your life to the fullest. This starts with the MS Center visit. Where you go with the information, is all part of our journey together:

A patient's experience with the Swedish Digestive Health Network

Dana Lewis

Dana Lewis
Digital Media & Internal Communications | Swedish Blog Administrator

We recently received this post from a patient who asked us to share her story and her experiences with Dr. Schembre and Dr. Tschirhart with the Swedish Digestive Health Network. Thank you, Yevette, for sharing your story with us!

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Dec 2nd,  2012 I was out of town doing some promotion for work when I collapsed in my hotel room. I went to the local hospital ER.  They found I had a gallstone lodged in my common bile duct. As they attempted to remove this, the surgeon ripped my intestine.  This created a whole host of life threatening problems. After 5 days I was airlifted to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.  Dr. Tschirhart was assigned my case.  By June I was stable enough for surgery.  Dr. Schembre referred to this surgery as a “Leap of Faith”. There was a team of 4 surgeons involved in this surgery.  Their concern that I may not survive was apparent. I actually said goodbye to my 17 year old daughter before this surgery.  After having me in surgery for only a few minutes he told my family that he didn’t think there was anything he could do for me & that my insides look like paper mache and were very fragile. But he never gave up.  I ended up with 9 different drainage tubes in my abdomen along with a J tune, G tube, every tube possible I think.  When I drank, the fluid would go in and then come out several of the tubes.  Dr. Schembre from GI worked with Dr. Tschirhart to help make my treatment plans. In October I was in a better situation to endure another surgery. Dr. Tschirhart explained exactly what needed to be done & explained the “Best Case Scenario” that he hoped he could perform. Fortunately he was able to achieve what he set out to do.   I ended up with 3 major surgeries and countless procedures.

Finally in December of 2013 they wanted me to go to rehab but I insisted on recovering at home in Marysville. I felt if there was a chance I was not going to make it I wanted to die at home.  Dr. Tschirhart assured me that if I had trouble and had to go to my local hospital he would have me airlifted immediately back to Swedish. As soon as I got home and on my couch I felt better!  I was discharged Dec 18, 2013 after a total of 381 days in the hospital.

Recently (August of 2014) I was able to return to work and can drive too!  I did have trouble this past April when my side split open and went into Swedish ER.  I commented to my friend that I needed to call Dr. Tschirhart so he could come get me.  The intake gal overheard me and said doctors never do that.  I tried to tell her that Dr. Tschirhart would. The ER was trying to gather info as to what had happened to me. My situation is too much to explain so I kept referring them to my file.  I was very frustrated. As they were questioning me I saw this hand come through the door and slowly he walked in. There he was!  I instantly started crying. He immediately had me transferred up to the 10th floor, order CT, medication etc.  He came for me as promised. I knew he would.
 

Dr. Tshirhart always told me  ....

Treating Cardiac Arrhythmias with catheter ablation

Adam H. Zivin, MD, FACC, FHRS

Cardiac catheter ablation is an invasive procedure done to treat abnormal rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Ablation can be used to treat both supraventricular arrhythmias coming from the upper chambers of the heart (atria) including paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, and ventricular arrhythmias coming from the lower chambers (ventricles).


Different types of catheter ablation for cardiac arrhythmias

“Ablation” refers to localized destruction of tissue, so the area that is being ablated needs to be carefully targeted and the ablation closely controlled. The precise areas targeted for ablation depend on the type of arrhythmia, which sometimes is known before the procedure, but often needs to be clarified or confirmed invasively during the procedure. That being said, not all tachycardias are amenable to ablation or even require treatment, but when non-drug treatment of appropriate tachycardias is appropriate, catheter ablation can be an excellent option.

Ablation can be performed either with ...

Palliative care is misunderstood and underutilized

Ellyn M. Lee
If I were to ask 50 people what palliative care means, I would likely get 50 different answers and most would say the term is interchangeable with hospice care. Because of this misconception in both the medical community and the general public, there is a hesitation to seek palliative care expertise earlier in a patient’s journey because of the false perception this service is only for those reaching end of life care. This past week an article was written in the NY Times about this very issue and how patients and their families are missing an opportunity to better understand options and make choices with the help of a palliative care team.
 
Those of us specializing in palliative care strive to manage symptoms and support patients and their loved ones on how to live with and manage chronic disease. We integrate the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of care along with providing relief from pain and other distressing symptoms. The focus of care is tailored to support each unique individual with the complex questions and scenarios arising from a chronic condition and are provided in an outpatient setting.
 
Is palliative care right for you, someone you love, or a patient you are treating? Here are some questions to think about:

Eat well and maintain a healthy weight - new class series

Grace Lautman, MS, CN

Grace Lautman, MS, CN
Health Education Specialist

Most of us have heard the term, “the obesity epidemic,” and we are affected by it each day. Some of us have had personal weight struggles or have watched a loved one struggle, and all of us have been affected by the food industry’s constant flood of conflicting nutrition and diet information.
 
This has left us:
  • Frustrated and confused with our bodies
  • Unclear about how to feed ourselves
  • Constantly dieting or giving up on losing weight entirely
  • Overweight, obese, and sick
  • Eating for emotional reasons rather than eating to fuel our bodies
  • Misunderstanding obesity
If we want to be healthy, we must understand the basic science behind nutrition, obesity, and metabolism, and we must connect with our own personal needs. With the proper education, we can navigate through the media’s information, stop dieting, find our healthy weight, and change our lifestyle habits in a sustainable way.

Swedish Community Education and Swedish Weight Loss Services have partnered and are now offering Healthy Weight Classes; a three-class series that teaches you the tools you need to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. The classes provide ...

Using technology to help educate, prepare, and distract kids in the hospital

Abigail Schmidt

Abigail Schmidt
Certified Child Life Specialist

The hospital can be a scary place for any patient, and even more so for children. iPads have been around for nearly four years and in that time they have expanded the way children are educated, prepared, distracted, and provided normalization in the pediatric areas of the hospital.

Educating kids

An iPad allows staff to teach patients about a new diagnosis while making it fun and interactive. An iPad provides a visual and hands on way to teach about a diagnosis and also make sure the patient understands their diagnosis. There are many apps designed by healthcare professionals for diagnosis education with kids. Some of these applications include: “Medikidz explains Type One Diabetes”, “Blast Those Blasts” (for children with cancer, specifically leukemia), “Flow Breather” (for children with cystic fibrosis) and “Wellapets- Asthma Education Pets for Kids.”

Helping kids prepare for a procedure or experience

Most pediatric patients ...

Support social work services and Swedish Cancer Institute in Issaquah

Kylie Davidson, MPH CHES

Kylie Davidson, MPH CHES
Supervisor, Health Education, Swedish Cancer Institute

Come and join us for a handbag auction that supports social work services at Swedish Issaquah and bid on new or gently used designer handbags, sunglasses, and jewelry. The auction will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at the Newcastle Country Club in Bellevue.
 
Every dollar raised will go towards funding the Cancer Social Work Services program at Swedish Issaquah. Social workers play a critical role in supporting cancer patients by providing a safe place for patients to talk about their emotions. In addition to ...

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