Combine Surgery With Travel

Combine Surgery With Travel

In today’s world, time is money and we all seem to be limited or stretched for both.  Taking care of your health seems to be put on the back burner when we are in this position in life. Is that really the best thing to do considering we need our health to be good at things?  How about planning your vacation smartly?  You need to have a procedure done but have put it off because of time or money.  Why not consider these 3 options for ‘killing 2 birds with 1 stone’ and combine surgery with travel?

If you are like me and had major surgery(s), you would probably agree the first few days you will want nothing but sleep and rest.  Minor procedures such as plastic surgery or dental work may not be as limiting, however, something like an orthopedic surgery will not allow for you to be taking long walks on the beach.  In fact, that would not be a good idea to be walking on sand after such surgery due to the unevenness which could result in another injury.  You can still combine travel with surgery, or at the least, make the best use of your time.

Combine Leisure Travel with Medical Travel

Summer is upon us and one of the best things about it is that you get to vacation! Are you limited on how many vacation days you are allowed for the year?  Have you ever thought about combining your surgery or procedure with your trip?  You may not get to enjoy the entire trip but you could go a couple days early to get in some of the sites.

Combine Your ‘Snowbird’ Vacation with Medical Travel

Canadians flock south every year to escape the cold and long winters.  Many have condos or second homes they own with Arizona, Florida and Texas as their destination.  They will spend months basking in the sun wearing sandals and shorts while their friends and family back home are bundled up in winter gear.  

This is an ample time to have your surgery, treatment or diagnostic test, especially if the surgery is a major one.   Having extended access to the surgeon or doctor without adding another flight will help keep your risk down. This also gives the doctor a better eye on monitoring you.  Most doctors are going to give post op care that’s included in their pricing. This helps keep the continuity of care if you are able to do all of your recovery in one place.  

Combine Your Business Trip with Medical Travel

Many Canadians travel to the US for business frequently.   This may or may not even require any additional vacation time depending on what you need to have done.  Diagnostic tests can easily be done in a matter of hours.  And if your company is footing the travel part of the trip, definitely coordinate what you need to have done.  If it’s a minor surgery, you may be able to fly within a day or two.

Popular Spots

Top destinations Canadians travel to in the USA during the summer are: Washington DC, Boston, Orlando or other historic destinations.  Snowbirds prefer Arizona, Florida and Texas.  Business travel includes Chicago, New York or Boston.   It just so happens Health Vantis has facilities in or near all of the destinations. If you need a surgery, contact Health Vantis to help you coordinate one of these trips for you.   

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Are You A Designated Care Giver?

Becoming a caregiver for someone that has had a recent surgery

The role of a caregiver for someone that had a recent surgery is probably the most important role in the patient’s success to recovery. Having that support system will keep you on track to achieve your goals.  The caregiver wears many hats, probably too many to list.  There are obviously many levels to being a caregiver.  Caring for an Alzheimer’s or cancer patient will require different roles.  This article is geared towards those who just had surgery, something that might not be as long term as a cancer patient.  It will provide things to consider or expect if you take on the role of caregiver for someone that had a recent surgery.

Are You The Right Caregiver?

Don’t just assume that your spouse would be your best choice as a caregiver.  Maybe the role the spouse needs to take is maintaining the home or taking care of the children as opposed the patient.  Those roles are just as important.  Sometimes a parent/child or friend might be better suited for the job.  The decision would need to be made by the patient and at their comfort level.  

Emotional Support

Seeing someone at their most vulnerable can take an emotional toll on both parties.  The caregiver only wants to make them feel better and most times that is not physically possible, however, being there emotionally will help aid in the recovery.   When we are in pain, the worst can sometimes come out.  It is important going into caregiver role to remember this.  When someone is in pain there may be expressions of frustration due to inability to carry out a normal routine tasks. Short temper may manifest itself but this is due to the frustration. Providing the person you care for with emotional support and encouragement will only give the reassurance they need to work hard at their recovery.

Financial Commitment

Yes, financial commitment.   It is a given that the caregiver may have a financial commitment.

  In most cases, they are not a paid employee.  They are a loved one that takes on the role out of genuine care and concern.   Most likely the patient and caregiver will both need to take time off work.  This can result in lost wages on both ends.  They may need help with paying bills, prescriptions, and gas money to get them to and from appointments, groceries or other medically necessary items.  Know as many of these costs as you can up front as there will always be unforeseen surprises.  There is also the possibility that a hired caregiver may be warranted.  Think through these options prior to your surgery and have a solid plan to avoid any lapse in recovery.

Advocacy

Advocating for someone ensures that person has their own personal cheerleader and voice working for them.  Knowing you need a surgery is stressful enough and can put your brain on overload.  This might result in you overlooking important questions that might need to be asked.  Having the caregiver as your advocate can give you a second set of ears to make sure all questions are asked and other options explored.  Caregivers can also be there to help lobby for something you need and speak up for you.  Most of all, they will need to understand the patients health needs before, during and after surgery.

The Many Hats 

As indicated earlier on, a caregiver  wears many hats.  Here are some possible things that may be required:

⁃Driver 

⁃Housekeeper/Laundry Person 

⁃Cook

⁃Personal nurse to monitor and administer medications and/or changing of dressings 

⁃Assist in home physical therapy 

⁃Personal assistant for running errands

⁃Companion and comfort provider

⁃ Assistant in personal hygiene such as bathing or dressing  

⁃Physical role in helping them get in and out of bed (This can be strenuous and physically demanding)

To make things easier for you, preparing meals in advance that can be easily heated is helpful.  Stocking the refrigerator to avoid a trip to the grocery store or already having items necessary such as gauze and tape for the dressings is another way.  When possible, delegate jobs out and be sure that you are taking time out of each day for your own mental health break.  That is just as important as your loved ones recovery. 

Being a caregiver is hard work but also very rewarding.  You get to play an instrumental part in the recovery of your loved one.  Assisting and nursing them back to their normal selves is usually worth all of temporary inconveniences you may experience!

For more information on 5 steps for a newly diagnosed cancer patient click here: https://www.healthvantis.ca/category/oncology/

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Health Benefits To The Approaching Summer

What Are The Health Benefits To The Approaching Summer?

We can feel the sun on our face and it brings excitement and joy every time we realize that summer is almost here.  It is by far my favorite season.  Being able to shed winter layers for flip flops and shorts is what I look forward to every single year.  Some of the great things about summer are of the many.  High on that list are the health benefits it offers.  Below we have shared some of those:

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

Doesn’t it seem like we associate winter with heavy, comfort food?  But when summer approaches and we start to shed the extra layers, heavy meals suddenly don’t seem as appetizing but the colorful fruits and vegetables do. That is because the summer heat drives our hunger down as our bodies do not need to expend as much energy to keep us warm.  It tells our minds we only need something lighter to sustain us.  

Fruits and vegetable look so much more vibrant in the summer.  I am more apt to grab a piece of fruit as a snack now than I would in the winter based on esthetics alone.  It’s  local also time for the local Farmer’s Market’s to open back up with local vendors presenting their organic, wholesome, fresh food.  While some are open during the winter, the summer months present more excitement and color.

More Opportunities for Exercise

There is nothing worse than sitting behind a desk and staring outside to the beautiful sun shinning, envious of those out there enjoying it.  The sluggish feeling of winter fades and we are suddenly energized making us more productive, even at work.  This also affects the way we exercise.  

People naturally want to be outside.  Summer gives us more options on how and where to exercise.   Not everyone is a gym rat.  That can seem like a daunting, monotonous task but summer opens doors to activities that people love to do.  Things like gardening, mowing the lawn, hiking/walking, riding a bike, playing a game or sport with our children/grandchildren or swimming.  And what happens when you are in the sun and exercise or work outside?  You sweat!  Sweating detoxifies your body, which is another excellent health benefit. 

More Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins in our body for optimal health.  It strengthens our immune system, can play a role in cancer prevention, strengthens our bones, speeds up metabolism and improves the overall emotional health. 

   When exposed to the sun, our Vitamin D is replenished and stored.  

Over the years, with more awareness of the dangers of too much sun, we have been taught to block the rays out with sun screen.  People are also working more hours keeping them indoors and shielded them from the rays.  Due to this, many now suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency.  

Having a Vitamin D deficiency can cause you to have bone pain, muscle cramps, stooped posture, loss in height and weakness and tingling.  During the summer months it is easier to store up on your Vitamin D.  After coming off Melanoma Awareness Month we wouldn’t suggest you to disregard the yields to applying sun screen, but newer research has shown that exposing your body to a little bit of sunshine can actually be good for you.

Overall Feel Good Attitude

  Summer time offers us longer days and more opportunity for the sun to shine.  Having the extra daylight gives us more time to be outside and possibly get outdoor exercise in.  This can produce the happy endorphins more so than if you exercised indoors.  Regular sun has also been known to halt moderate depression.  There are individuals that have an illness called Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), which is normally present during the fall and winter months.  Once summer arrives, it magically disappears.

Vacation!

Nothing rejuvenates your spirit and mental health like a vacation.  Taking a vacation, whether it’s a quick 3-4 day weekend get-away or a week off, can be beneficial to your overall well-being.  Summer presents more time for people to take time off work and spend it with their families.  Studies have shown over and over that stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure.  Making the time to take a vacation not only gives you a break from the normal stressors of daily life but it can strengthen your relationships by spending quality time together.  

Summer is often a short lived season in Canada.  Make the most of it by watching less TV, putting the devices down and getting outside to explore all of the wonderful things available to us. A little bit of sunshine can go a long way!

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques

Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques Are Bringing Greater Results To Patients

Orthopedic procedures are skyrocketing in Canada due to the aging Baby Boomer population. High on the list are hip and knee replacements. These are considered major surgeries and in years past, required overnight stays in the hospital with a long recovery period. Newer orthopedic surgical techniques and procedures are now available to make the surgery out-patient vs inpatient with a less invasive approach. This has the patient up and moving within hours of the surgery and a much quicker recovery. 

Posterior Approach 

In years past, these surgeries were done posteriorly, which entered through the back side of the knee or hip. This required a large incision, cutting through the muscle and other soft tissues. In the case of a hip, a wide piece of fibrous soft tissue at the top of the outer thigh was cut and the large gluteus maximus muscle that attaches to it. The surgeon would cut the external muscles that connect the top of the femur to the pelvis. These are the muscles that provide hip stability preventing dislocation out of the back of the hip socket. The muscles are repaired and reattached at the end of the surgery. This approach provides a good view of what they are doing to the surgeon, thus the preferred approach for most. 

Having a posterior approach would require at least 2-3 days stay in a hospital and then 2-3 weeks of physical therapy in a rehab hospital. There is a much longer process for healing and mobility with this approach. 

Anterior Approach 

The Anterior approaches is preformed through the front of the hip or knee.  This technique requires a very skilled doctor. Not all physicians are trained to do this approach, furthermore, there are not many surgeons in Canada offering it at this time. While both techniques provide you with the same overall outcome, there are greater benefits to doing the replacement(s) anteriorly. Some of those are: 

.–  Lower rates of infection

–Sparing the muscles and tendons, allowing the patient to move the joint duringrecovery

–  Less pain

–  Faster recover time

–  Improved mobility

–  Reduced scarring

–  Improved stability

–  Reduced risk for dislocation after surgery

–  No overnight hospital stay

 Patients who have undergone direct anterior procedures have reported post operative pain and discomfort markedly less than traditional approaches. Recovery is expedited and they are able to resume normal actives sooner.

Microdiscectomy For The Spine 

Microdiscectomy for the spine is the most common minimally invasive spine surgery procedures being done. Like traditional posterior hip and knee approach, traditional discectomies are done with a 6-8” incision that requires cutting through the back muscles. This technique has significant muscle damage with a slow, painful recovery. 

Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope

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 Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope. This only requires a tiny incision the size of a pin and is able to burrow through the muscles as opposed to cutting through them. The endoscope is removed and the heart muscle closes naturally. Per Chiropractor and rehab therapist Dr. Amy Cannutta, this allows for less down time, greater results, less pain and practically no infection rate. Her experience has also seen people’s recovery period much easier and quicker than traditional discectomy. 

Which Surgical Technique Is Right For You? 

Just like any surgery, only your doctor will know what is the right approach for your situation. Not everyone is a candidate for Microdiscectomy or an Anterior Approach for hip or knee replacement. If you are ever in doubt or would like to explore an alternate approach, solicit a second opinion. Health Vantis can help you with this. Contact us today at info@healthvantis.com or 877-344-3544 as we have facilities that offer these techniques and are able to provide you with a second opinion. 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com 

Travel Tips This Summer For Health and Wellness

Traveling this summer?

Listed below are travel tips this summer for health and wellness  – Traveling this summer doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your health and wellness.  Of course, indulging and splurging are what vacations and summers are all about.  You can still have all of that but keep your health and wellness in check.  Here are some tips to achieve that:

Pack Your Running Shoes

Vacation is supposed to be fun during the summer but it is hard to stick to your exercise routine when you are traveling.  Besides, who wants to work out when they are on vacation? One way to still enjoy your vacation but still keep up some kind of exercise is to try something new. 

 This will not only give you a break from your normal routine or stuck in a gym but expose you to something you might not have tried otherwise.  Things that can still get the heart rate going but have some enjoyment in feeling like you are on vacation could be: taking a walk or run on the beach, hiking, surf boarding, paddle boarding, biking, golf, or yoga on the beach. Don’t forget to download a book on tape to listen to!

Make A Quick Stop To The Grocery

Eating small meals every couple of hours is always recommended for a healthy diet.  This is hard to maintain when you are traveling, especially when all you want to do is indulge in the local tasty treats you are surrounded with.  If time allows, make a quick stop to the grocery to pick a few easily portable, non-perishable items that will not melt in the hot sun.  Apples or grapes, mixed nuts/seeds or trail mix, beef jerky, carrots or celery, skinny pop, protein bars, roasted edamame, protein crisps, granola, raisins, or protein drinks are some great options.  If you don’t think you will have time to make a grocery stop, plan ahead and bring some of these items with you.  Hotels also have complimentary breakfast.  Grab an extra apple, banana, small peanut butter or granola bar on your way out.

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Water is going to be your best friend while you are on vacation.  Traveling in the summer often puts you in the heat more than usual.  Staying hydrated is very important so bring a reusable water bottle.  This will give you no excuse not to hydrate.  Most hotels will have ice machines.  You can fill it each morning before you head out for your day of fun.  You can also pack individual sports drink or energy boost powders to give you a little extra kick.  

If you are traveling to a foreign country, be sure to find out if it’s safe to drink water from the tap.  This will avoid any unpleasant stomach bugs.  To see if the country you are traveling to has safe water or food, download the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) Can I Eat This App.

Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time

If you like to stick to a regular diet, you can still have a great time and enjoy the local restaurants.  All you need to do is plan ahead.  Most restaurants have menus with nutritional value posted on their websites.  Do the research ahead of time so you have some places in mind you can dine at that will keep you on your diet.

Protect Your Skin and Immune System

Traveling has the tendency to run your immune system down, even in the summer.  A few things you can do to protect yourself is to load up on your vitamin C and D.  And don’t forget the sunscreen!  (For risks of not applying your sunscreen, please read our article on Melanoma here) The worse thing ever is getting a sunburn on that first day and not feeling like being in the sun for the remainder of your trip.  Take a purse size hand sanitizer for when you do not have access to a sink and soap.

There is always that myth that you will not get a tan if you wear sunscreen.  This is absolutely not true!  It simply protects you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays.  The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends an SPF of 30 or higher and that is water resistant.  It will not prevent you from getting a tan, only from being exposed to the harmful rays and burning.  If you do get a burn, be sure to apply aloe quickly as this will help decrease the pain and heal things quicker.  

Don’t Forget About The Mental Health

If you are like me, you like to go full speed ahead and explore the minute you go on vacation.  While this is what taking a vacation if all about, don’t forget to take some downtime to rest your brain as well.  It is just as important to give your mind a break.  Stopping to take the time to be grateful of your surroundings and put all of the other stressors in your life to bed will give your mental health the well deserved break it needs.

Conclusion

Summer is supposed to be fun!  If you take a few extra steps, you can maintain your health and fitness and still have a great time.  A couple of really cool apps that might be helpful are posted on the CDC’s website that can give you tips for healthy travel packing, what can you eat or drink in certain countries. The CDC also has an app called TravWell that will allow you to create a customizable healthy travel packing list.  

Don’t forget about your immunizations too.  If you are traveling to another country, make sure to know the proper immunizations for that particular country and that you have them.  Not all countries require certain vaccinations but it is always a good idea to make sure you have the appropriate ones.  

Have a safe, healthy and fun summer!

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com