iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor: Take It Anywhere!

I received an iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post. 


If you are like me and are concerned about your blood pressure, then you are going to LOVE this little digital gadget! The iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor is small enough to fit in your purse, and keeps a charge for about a month of regular use. It comes with a charging cord and a little case to keep it in. And, it has received FDA approval in the U.S., CE compliance in Europe, TGA approval in Australia and Health Canada approval. 

And, guess what else? It is wireless and works with an app that is available for both iPhone and Android phones! You can keep a record of your blood pressure readings, and share them with your doctor right from your phone. How much easier can keeping track of your health get? 

wireless blood pressure monitor

iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor

To use the iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor, wrap it around your arm with the monitor next to your wrist, an inch or two above your wrist.  Fasten the velcro snuggly, and hold your arm steady until the “heart” lights up. Press the button to start it, and it will tighten up just like a regular blood pressure cuff. When it stops, it will display your blood pressure and your heart rate. 



The iHealth Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is a great gift for Grandma and Grandpa, or anyone on your list that wants to keep on top of their health.

BUY IT! iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor at Amazon.com

Are You Low In Vitamin D? 5 Symptoms To Consider

Vitamin D is a workhorse in the human body.

It tackles its most well known purpose: Working with calcium to strengthen bones. But its function is much more than that. Vitamin D has been linked to disease prevention from head to toe and holds links to the management of conditions like:

·  Multiple sclerosis

·  Heart disease

·  Influenza

·  Mood regulation

·  Depression

·  Diabetes

·  Fibromyalgia and more

Despite data supporting the need for healthy vitamin D levels, nearly ¾ of American teens and adults are deficient. Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” your body does produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but many people make the mistake of believing that sun alone is enough—or that drinking a glass of milk will keep them covered. This is especially true for African Americans whose dark skin means they need many times more sun exposure to generate vitamin D compared to fair skinned people. Are you getting enough vitamin D? To know for sure, see your doctor for a simple blood test.  And of course, remember to always talk to your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your routine, but here are 5 symptoms of low D you should explore further:

·  You battle depression or are feeling down.

Serotonin, a brain chemical that supports positive mood rises with sun exposure and drops without it. In one study, elderly patients with low levels of vitamin D were 11 times more likely to battle depression.

·  You have bone or muscle pain/weakness.

Some types of vitamin D deficiency are misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome when the deficiency causes a defect in how your body absorbs calcium into the collagen matrix of bones—causing them to ache.

·  You are sleepy during the day.

Of course not all cases of daytime sleepiness can be linked to vitamin D deficiency, but if you’re doing other things right—sleeping at night, eating well and exercising and still battle daytime fatigue, talk to your doctor.

·  You wear out fast.

If you’re panting after a light workout or just can’t seem to endure the physical feats of the past it may not be in your head. Some studies have shown a decrease in aerobic capacity and endurance in athletes who have low D levels.

·  Your blood pressure is too high.

Vitamin D helps regulate heart health in a variety of ways. When there’s not enough vitamin D on board you may see your blood pressure rising slowly over time. However, other factors than vitamin D may be at play, so talk to your doctor.

The power of vitamin D is often overlooked. If you’ve been wondering about your levels, talk to your doctor and consider looking beyond the blood work and at your body’s unique genetic tendencies to learn more about how you process vitamins like D and others. A simple nutrigenomic test can tell you what’s happening deep inside your cells and help take the guesswork out of what your body needs to maintain optimum nutrition and fitness levels.

Fabgrandpa Has COPD, But What Is That Exactly?

Fabgrandpa was diagnosed with COPD about six years ago. We were working at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, at an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet. Every Spring when we went back to work, it took longer and longer for him to acclimated to the elevation. He had a hard time breathing, felt short of breath most of the time, and coughed a lot. He wound up in the emergency room in Flagstaff for a breathing treatment, and got prescriptions for an antibiotic and a steroid to help open up his airways. Bronchitis was a regular thing for him. 

At the time of his diagnosis with COPD, he was still smoking cigarettes, about a pack a day. His doctor and the other medical professionals he saw all told him he needed to quit, because smoking exacerbated his condition. While they all told him he had COPD, none of the doctors actually told him what COPD was. He seemed to always be asking “What is COPD?”

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory, or not-reversible, asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. That is a lot of big words used to describe disorders that make breathing difficult. Most people start to develop COPD when they are around 40 years old, but they don’t notice the symptoms at first. You begin to see the symptoms when the more developed stages of the disease. Symptoms include increased shortness of breath, frequent coughing with and without sputum, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. Fabgrandpa had all of these symptoms. COPD affects about 24 million people in the United States. 

There are many risk factors and causes of COPD. It can be caused by inhaling pollutants, including cigarette smoke, and second hand smoke. Fumes, chemicals, and dust found in work environments contribute to the development of COPD. Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD—even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.  Fabgrandpa tested deficient in Alpha1 antitrypsin, which is a genetic disorder that causes COPD and liver disease. 

If you have shortness of breath, or have a hard time keeping up with people your age, you may want to ask your doctor to test you for COPD if are a smoker, if you have a history of COPD in our family, or if you have been exposed to harmful chemical fumes for a long period of time.  It is important  to get tested because leaving symptoms misdiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated may cause them to worsen faster than if they were treated with proper medication and therapy. Many adults are incorrectly diagnosed with asthma. Providing a proper diagnosis means individuals will receive the right treatments and follow up monitoring. There’s no cure yet for COPD but treatments are available to help individuals live better.

We Depend On Depend® To Keep Our Mother Comfortable

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CaringMadeEasy #CollectiveBias


mama at 88

My Mama

Our Mother is 88 years old. She has always been a very independent, strong, hardworking woman. She raised five children, and worked a full-time job for most of the years that we were growing up. So, when she started showing signs earlier this year that she was not able to do things she has always done, it was distressing to me and my siblings.  She also started doing some things that if it weren’t for the fact that they indicated her mind was slipping, it would have been funny. For instance, I took her to a doctor’s appointment in April, and she had to give a urine sample. I was in the bathroom with her, helping her with her clothing. To my surprise, she was wearing five pairs of panties, with a Poise® Liner in each pair! When I asked her why she had on so many pairs of underware, she told me that she couldn’t walk fast enough to get to the bathroom and she did not want to wet her pants. 

Mama was diagnosed with dementia not long after that, and we (my three siblings and I) had to make some very hard decisions. She was falling down at home because she forgot to use her walker. After the second fall, she was taken to the hospital via ambulance. Her doctor told us she could no longer live alone. So, we decided as a family to admit her to a rehab facility to see if they could improve her strength, while we looked for an assisted living facility to move her to. Last month, we got her moved in to a nice one bedroom apartment in an assisted living home just a couple of miles from my sister’s house. 

Now that Mama is in the assisted living facility, she is wearing Depend® Fit Flex Underwear for Women. These disposable undergarments are easy to get on and off, so that if Mama remembers to go to the bathroom, she can just pull them down like regular panties. And if she forgets to go, she won’t be embarrassed in front of the other residents of the facility. If she needs help changing, they are easy enough to get on and off that I am able to help her, even with my disability. Depend Fit-Flex women’s undergarments have all-around leg elastics and a smooth, close-to-body fit. When Mama has them on, no one knows she is wearing them.  They are soft, quiet, and breathable so that they are comfortable to wear. 

depend fit flex womens undergarments

Depend in the Sam’s Club Pharmacy.

Depend® and Poise® products are both available at Sam’s Club, which makes it really easy for me to pick them up while I am shopping for other things. Sam’s Club is your one-stop shop for all things caregiving, including prescription refills, free health screenings, and health-related products. How do you care for your patients or loved ones and how can Sam’s Club help? Take a look at the Sam’s Club Caregiver page to see all the products and services available in the club.  You can also shop online, which is a great time saver. 

There is a sticker inside the Depend package that you can use to redeem at the Sam’s Club pharmacy for an awesome caregiver sample kit. I am going to get mine next time I go! And, if you download the Digimark app, you can scan anywhere on the Depend packaging, and it will take you to the Sam’s Club Caregiver website. How handy is that?

Mama has a hard time remembering family members. She usually thinks my sister is her mother, and she doesn’t remember my brother’s name. I decided to make her a Family Memory Book to tuck into a gift basket I am making for her. 

Family photos printed out.

Family photos printed out.

To make the memory book, I looked through family photos on Facebook, and downloaded a photo of each family member. 

My supplies

My supplies

**Next, I chose some pretty paper, and cut out frames for each photo using my cutting machine. I varied the shape of the frames to make the book interesting. 

Cut the photos to fit the frames I cut out with my cutting machine.

I cut the photos to fit the frames I cut out with my cutting machine.

**Then, I pasted each photo onto a 6″ X 6″ sheet of colorful paper, and pasted a frame on each one. 

To help Mama remember, I used a marker to write everyone's name.

To help Mama remember, I used a marker to write everyone’s name.

**The next step was to use a marker and write each person’s name on the paper, so Mama would know who they are. 

I used a hole puncher to punch holes in the paper.

I used a hole puncher to punch holes in the paper.

**Last, I punched holes in each sheet of paper, threaded a coordinating ribbon through the holes, and tied the ends of the ribbon in a bow. Now Mama has a small photo Family Memory Book to help her remember the names of her children and grandchildren. 

The finished Memory Book for my Mama.

The finished Memory Book for my Mama.

The inside:

The inside of the memory book.

The inside of the memory book.

Do you have a friend or relative that needs a caregiver? Are you that person? What products or services help you the most? Do you have any tips or suggestions for helping someone with dementia remember those they love most?  What items would you include in a gift basket to help their transition into an assisted living facility go smoothly?

Cardiac Catheterization: Fabgrandpa’s Heart Surgery

When we were called and asked to come in to Dr. Rouse’s office just a couple of days after Fabgrandpa’s stress test, I knew it would not be good news. Doctors don’t call you that quick when it is happy or good news. So, when we went in and heard that Fabgrandpa needed to go for a Cardiac Catheterization, I was not surprised. The stress test was on Monday, August 8, the counsultation in Dr. Rouse’s office was on August 11, and his procedure was scheduled for August 18. Dr. Rouse told us that they would do the catheterization, and if they found any blockages, they would insert stents into those arteries. Fabgrandpa would be in recovery for 6-8 hours, and then we would go home. It didn’t happen exactly like that, but we are now back home after a three day, two night stay in the hospital. NOTE: Graphic photos are ahead, if you are squeamish, don’t click to read more. 

[Read more…]

Fabgrandpa: Scheduled For A Cardiac Catheterization

 Cardiac catheterization


In the ongoing circle of going to doctors, trying to figure out what is wrong with the man of the house, we have now seen Dr. Howell, the primary care physician; Dr. G, the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor; Dr. Mikolides, the neurologist; Dr. Whitney, The vascular surgeon; Dr. Robinson, the pulmonologist, and now Dr. Rouse, the cardiologist. 

 Cardiac catheterization

Me and Fabgrandpa in 2011

The first time we went to see Dr. Robinson was June 22. She took a medical history, and sheduled Fabgrandpa for a lung function test. He has had lung function tests before at the VA, but those were very simple, easy tests compared to what Dr. Robinson did. This lung function test was very sophisticated, with ultra modern equipment. Fabgrandpa sat in what looked like a modern telephone booth, and the breaths he took were recorded electronically. This machine gave Dr. Robinson a ton of information about Fabgrandpa’s lung function. Quite a contrast with the plastic tube that the VA used, which only showed how far he could blow the marker up the tube. 

Next, Dr. Robinson changed the medication he was using to see if there would be any change in breathing ability. She also took blood to run a bunch of tests. We were referred to Dr. Rouse, a cardiologist, for a stress test. 

With our granddaughter, Sarah at her school play last year.

With our granddaughter, Sarah at her school play last year.

On Monday last week, Fabgrandpa went to Dr. Rouse’s office for the stress test. Because he can not walk for very long without getting out of breath, they did the chemical stress test, where they inject Fabgrandpa with the chemical, and then monitor his heart function.

On Wednesday, we went back to Dr. Robinson’s office for results of his testing. She told us that he has Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which is an inherited condition that raises your risk for lung and liver disease. She said that even if he had never smoked a cigarette in his life, with Alpha-1, he could still get COPD. Dr. Robinson is setting up a home health nurse who will come to our house once a week and give Fabgrandpa an Alpha-1 injection. 

When we got home from the pulmonologist’s office, we got a call from Dr. Rouse’s office, asking if we could come in the next day at 8:00 a.m. We took that appointment and got up bright and early to get there on time. 

Dr. Rouse said that the stress test came back as “abnormal”, and he is scheduling a Cardiac catheterization for Thursday, August 18. Next week. All of this is happening so quickly that we are wondering why we didn’t start with the pulmonologist and cardiologist, instead of taking this round about journey to get here.  If Dr. Rouse finds a blockage, he will go ahead an insert stents while he is in there with the catheter.

I am nervous, worried, scared, but also hopeful that the things these two doctors aare doing will make my sweetheart feel better. I hope that getting stents will allow Fabgrandpa to feel good enough to go on day trips, and go out and have some fun. All we have done for about two years now is go to doctors. It gets to be depressing, and disheartening, to go from one doctor to another and still feel bad. I’ll let you all know how things go with the Cardiac catheterization on Thursday.