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Melanie Hemry, retired nurse doesn’t let anything slow her down as she continues to live life to the fullest.

story and photo by Vickie Jenkins
Meet Melanie Hemry, retired nurse from the medical field, spending 20 years at Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK. Being a nurse didn’t stop at the hospital though. She used her nursing skills to do mission work in downtown OKC and on several occasions, joined others on a medical team to travel to Jamaica to take care of the less fortunate. “People would walk for miles to get medical care,” Hemry said. Being a nurse was her first career.
Hemry has an interesting story of how she became a nurse. “When I was little, I was an avid reader. I loved to read and couldn’t seem to get enough of it. I was in 7th grade at a skating rink in Duncan, OK when one of the skating instructors said she was going to go to college to be a writer. I had always wanted to be a writer. No one in my family had ever gone to college. We didn’t have any college money. I had it figured out though. At the time, I was allowed to go to school half a day and work half a day. I would work and save enough money (fifty cents an hour) and go to college to be a writer. The only job available for me in Duncan, OK was a job at Duncan Regional Health Center, as a nurse’s aide. The first day of my job was awful! I went home crying, wanting to quit. My mother told me to stick it out for 3 months and if I still didn’t like it, then, I could quit. Things went well. After 3 months, I loved my job at the hospital!”
I still had a deep desire to be a writer. Every day, I would find a quiet place, sit under a shade tree with pencil and paper and write, write, write! One day, I heard a message from God, You will go into nursing and later, you will be a writer.”
“To my surprise, I was offered a scholarship and went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK to become a nurse. I graduated in 1970 and went to Baptist Hospital and stayed there for my nursing career.” Now, Hemry is a best-selling author and continues to write.
“What inspires you when you wake up every morning?” I ask Hemry. “I think it is the fact that I have never been bored and I know there are so many things that I haven’t learned or experienced. I want to see what’s new and what is waiting for me,” she replies.
Describing herself, Hemry replies, “I think learning is so interesting and I can’t wait to learn more.” Her hobbies include reading, writing, traveling, cooking and spending time with her family. “It’s kind of funny, I love to write all day and I read myself to sleep every night,” she laughs.
Asking Hemry if it is true what they say about nurses, ‘once a nurse, always a nurse,’ she replies, “Yes, once you become a nurse, your nursing skills never leave you. Once, I was in a restaurant and heard someone choking. I jumped over several people, running across the restaurant to do CPR on the child,” she said. “I am so glad I was there at that time. Those skills stay with you forever,” she added.
“I always tell people that I enjoy both of my careers, nursing and writing. I enjoy helping people. If I gave anyone advise on any job they set out to do, I would tell them to keep learning, try your hardest and don’t be afraid to explore new adventures,” Hemry comments. “My words to live by? Be true to God and be true to yourself.”
Melanie Hemry continues to hold writing conferences, and is host for several writing groups. She has written 6 books under her own name. Those books are: A Healing Touch: The Power of Prayer and Hugs for Single Moms, Anointing for Protection, Anointing for Healing, Anointing for Children and Anointing for Salvation. She has also ghostwritten 48 books.
Melanie Hemry will be one of the main speakers at the Write Well, Sell Well, Writer’s Conference on October 23-24, 2015 at Crossings Community in Oklahoma City, OK. For more information, go to www.WriteWellSellWellokc.com

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Bonnie Rainbow, RN and Jana Jennings, RN, are charge nurses in PPCU at Norman Regional HealthPlex in Norman, OK.

by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Meet Bonnie Rainbow, RN and Jana Jennings, RN, both charge nurses in PPCU at Norman Regional HealthPlex, in Norman, OK. Rainbow has been a nurse since 1976 and has worked at Norman Regional since 2008. “After graduation, I just happen to see some programs about the medical field and nursing school and decided to check it out. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the idea. The next thing I knew, I was making it happen and I became a nurse,” she says. “I love my profession and love helping patients and their families. I strongly believe that being a nurse was a God given direction that I took,” she adds.
Working with Rainbow, is Jana Jennings, RN. Unlike Rainbow, Jennings grew up surrounded by people in the medical field. When she was a little girl, her family purchased a nursing home. From Administrator, Social Worker and Secretary, her family seemed to do it all. “I always thought I would be a nurse or a teacher when I grew up. I worked at a hospital part-time and a daycare part-time. After working at the daycare for a while, I realized those kids, ‘kicked my rear’ so I went into nursing,” she says with a laugh. “I have worked here since 2003 and I simply love my job. It is so rewarding! I know that I am helping others and I love it when patients come back to the hospital to tell me how much they appreciated their care from our staff.”
Both Rainbow and Jennings agree that their typical day is busy. “We are so fast-paced around here,” Rainbow says. “We are in charge of the placement of the patients and we oversee the care of the patients. We take care of folks in the waiting room, getting them taken care of as quickly as possible. I know that we have many patients in a crisis and when those people come in, we are that comforting shoulder for the patients and their families and suddenly their fears go away when they realize they are in good hands.”
“What qualities do you think make a good nurse?” I ask Rainbow. “I think a nurse should possess patience with her patients,” she says with a laugh. “It’s almost like we need to see the big picture and connect to every component of the family, whether it be emotional, financial or physiological, helping the patients, in every way that we can.”
“The turnover for patients is a lot,” says Jennings. “We just have to be ready and work together and that is why I am so proud of our teamwork,” she replies. “Also, Bonnie and I help out anywhere and anyway that we can, whether it be helping with the aides or helping the nurses if they need help. It makes it nice to work together.”
Jennings enjoys her job as a nurse. “I have a real passion to help others. When I was little, my older sister was hit by a drunk driver. She was in the hospital for several months and we weren’t sure if she was going to make it. She is fine now but through that experience, it helped me understand how the families of the patient feels. I have a strong desire to comfort the patients and their families.”
Asking Rainbow if she has any hobbies, she replies. “ I like to read, and I like swimming and walking but most of all, I like to spend time with my family and my church family.”
Jennings hobbies include spending time with her husband (who is also a nurse) and their 2 daughters, ages 4 and 8. “I like to go swimming and we like to go on vacation whenever we get the chance,” Jennings states.
“What are your words to live by?” I ask Rainbow. “Oh, that would be my favorite passage from the Bible,” she says. “It has a lot of truth and honesty to it and it has gotten me through a lot of hard times. It is Philippians 4:8 Finally Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
Between the two nurses, they describe themselves as compassionate, friendly and trustworthy and they both love being a nurse. Kudos to Norman Regional HealthPlex.

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If you weren’t a nurse what would you be doing? Oklahoma Heart Hospital, Outpatient Cath lab

Really I don’t know. I don’t know what else I could do. I have hobbies but nothing else I’d like to do to make a living. Stacey Taylor, RN

I would have to be a doctor, but I’m really glad I’m a nurse. Alyssa Guild, RN

I felt a calling to go into this profession. Nothing else interests me. Ilo Cox, RN

I would be a veterinarian. Carla Bensinger, RN

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Q. My husband and I are in counseling to learn how to be better communicators. Why does this sound so easy yet so hard to do? Do you have some “Communication for Dummies” lists that might be helpful?
A. “First lets talk about the obvious:
1. Don’t talk about important issues while watching TV, looking at your phone or sitting in front of the computer. 2. Look at each other. (eye contact is almost harder than communicating) 3. Don’t bring up important issues if you are not in the same room. 4. Don’t talk about important topics if you are hungry, tired, sick or distracted. (so you are sitting there thinking, “when am I not tired or distracted?)
Tips for women:
1. When you ask a question, give him a few seconds to answer. (Men usually take longer to think about their answer). 2. Don’t talk for him. Do not tell him what you think “he thinks.” 3. Don’t interrupt him. Let him talk. Patience!! 4. Practice the 24 hour rule. If he does something/says something that you are still thinking/feeling 24 hours after it happens, tell him. Do not store it!! Stored feelings result in resentments and they are VERY hard to move past. 5. When your husband tells you something you have done that bothered him; you also listen. Men can store feelings too.
Tips for men:
1. When she asks you a question, take a few seconds, not all day. (If you don’t have an answer, tell her you don’t. If you sit there long enough without responding, she will ask again). 2. Give her a response or she may “think for you.” (And it could be wrong.) 3. Tell her that you will not be talking if she continues to interrupt you. 4. When she tells you something you have said/done that bothered her, do not roll your eyes or look away, listen to her, look at her. I promise, this will benefit you in the long run. 5. Don’t me the man who says, “I never really get angry, that stuff just rolls off my back.” Trust me, it can roll right into the resentment file and pop out during your next argument.
One of the most common presenting issues in counseling is women who have been trying to tell their husband’s something that really bothers them and their husband don’t take it seriously.
You are right, communication sounds easy but takes ongoing practice.

0 2020

INTEGRIS Radiology Services at Southwest Medical Center is now offering more comfortable MRI exams thanks to the delivery of a new piece of state of the art equipment.
The Discovery MR750w 3.0T MR System with GEM Suite coil technology is designed to meet the needs of both clinicians and patients.
The integrated system combines high-density surface coils and innovative software technologies to provide uncompromised image quality, improved workflow and increased patient comfort to help minimize anxiety and motion.
The new machine utilizes Silent Scan, a revolutionary neuro acquisition technique that makes the sound of an MR scan as silent as a whisper.
“Typical MR scans can reach over 100 decibels. That’s roughly equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer, a speeding freight train or what you’d hear sitting in the front row of a rock concert. As you can imagine, this level of noise can add to patient anxiety,” says Katee Hale, operations manager of INTEGRIS Radiology Services at Southwest Medical Center. “We are proud to be the only facility in the state to have Silent Scan capabilities. We hope this will help make our patients feel as comfortable as possible during a scan.”
Other key features include feet-first imaging for all anatomies, flexible designs that comfortably embrace the patient, comfort tilt to improve brain and neck exam form, reduced exam times through fewer coil exchanges, and comfortable variable density padding designed to help minimize pressure points. Another added luxury that is also available with the system are CinemaVision Goggles. With CinemaVision, patients are able to watch a DVD movie, cable TV, IPAD video or listen to music during their exam.
The new device is now up and running at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center.

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It’s not easy for patients to navigate through today’s health care system. Too often, the experience is fraught with confusion and frustration. Enter care coordination and transition management (CCTM), a key nursing role that many experts now believe is the answer to a puzzling, fragmented — and often costly — journey to health.
To make that journey smoother, two of the country’s influential nursing organizations have joined forces to mobilize and guide nurse leaders in a national effort for better care through CCTM.
The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) recently issued a joint statement defining how nurse leaders can help their facilities and clinicians achieve the “Triple Aim” of health care: improving the quality of patient care, improving the health of communities, and reducing health care costs.
“Registered nurses are the largest group of frontline health care professionals. That’s why it is crucial for nurse leaders to take initiative and prepare their delivery systems and nursing staff for CCTM,” said AONE CEO and American Hospital Association Senior Vice President for Nursing Pamela Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN. “The principles in the joint statement will help guide leaders in acute and outpatient settings to achieve the best patient experience and outcomes.”
“Care coordination is a role that synchronizes all aspects of patient care, from admission to discharge home or to another care setting, and follow up with other care providers,” said AAACN CEO Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN. “The goal is to ensure people don’t struggle through the system or fall through the cracks.”
Getting nurse leaders on board is a critical step in the process, Hnatiuk said, adding that the collaboration with AONE “is an historic one because it bridges the traditional silos between acute care and ambulatory care nursing, thereby forging ground on a seamless patient experience throughout their continuum of care.”

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Jennifer Semore, M.D., is a board certified family medicine physician. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and completed her residency at the Charlton Methodist Family Practice Residency in Dallas.
“I’m passionate about empowering patients to take control of their health through providing educational tools and evidenced based medicine. It is important at each visit, that my patients feel they were heard, respected and their time is valuable. My hope is that all patients walk away feeling better and more encouraged than before our visit.”
Dr. Semore has special interests in: newborn care and pediatrics, women’s health, preventative medicine, office procedures (joint injections, skin biopsies, sutures), diabetes management, hypertension, hyperlipidemia
In her spare time, Dr. Semore enjoys spending time with family, church activities, cooking, sewing and crafting. She also loves traveling and experiencing new cultures.
Dr. Semore joins INTEGRIS Family Care in Mustang.

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Frustration with infant crying is the number one trigger for a person to shake or harm a baby. The result of this action can be abusive head trauma – the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) advises that nearly all victims suffer serious health consequences and at least one of every four babies who are violently shaken dies from this form of child abuse. This is why educating caregivers is so important. They need to know what to expect from newborns and how to handle this stressful time.
“This form of abusive head trauma is completely preventable and research has shown that this program works,” said Amy Terry, adolescent health coordinator.
“Click for Babies” is a grassroots campaign that seeks knitters and crocheters to make purple colored baby caps to be delivered to families in local hospitals during the months of November and December along with the Period of PURPLE Crying® program. The program is evidence-based, and educates parents about normal infant crying, ways to cope with the crying, and the dangers that can result from shaking an infant.
Currently, 39 birthing hospitals in Oklahoma participate in the program. Volunteers are needed to knit or crochet purple baby caps and to help spread the word.
“We need as many volunteers, knitting groups, and community champions as possible to participate in this worthy effort,” said Lisa Rhoades, program manager for the Child Death Review Board. Rhoades helps lead the Injury Prevention Workgroup of Oklahoma’s Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility initiative to reduce infant deaths in the state.
Purple-knitted infant caps will be collected through the end of September and can be mailed to the following locations:
Oklahoma Child Death Review Board, 1111 N. Lee, Ste. 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73103 and at the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, 1421 S. Boston Avenue in Tulsa, OK 74119.
For a list of participating drop off sites close to your area or call Amy Terry at (405) 271-4471, or email AmyT@health.ok.gov.
For information about Oklahoma’s “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative, visit http://iio.health.ok.gov.

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By Jose M Olivero
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Oklahoma City

Cancer can affect any one of us, at any time. Sadly, thousands of people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer every year, and it remains the leading cause of disease-related death for children. In September, we honor the strength and courage of children who are battling the many forms of cancer, as well as the young Americans who have lost their lives to these terrible diseases.
Social Security provides benefits for children who suffer from many disabling diseases, including some forms of cancer. These benefits could help with the additional costs of caring for an ill child. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled children who have limited income and resources.
If you wish to apply for benefits for your child, you’ll need to complete both an application for SSI and a Child Disability Report. The report collects information about your child’s disabling condition, and about how it affects his or her ability to function.
Here are the steps to apply.
• Review the Child Disability Starter Kit. This kit answers common questions about applying for SSI benefits for children, and includes a worksheet that will help you gather the information you need. You can view the starter kit at www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits_child_eng.htm.
• The SSI program is a “needs-based” program for people who have low family income and resources. SSI has strict limits on the amount of income and assets you can have and still be eligible for SSI. Contact Social Security right away to find out if the income and resources of the parents and the child are within the allowed limits, and to start the SSI application process.
• Fill out the online Child Disability Report. At the end of the report, we’ll ask you to sign a form that gives the child’s doctor(s) permission to give us information about his or her disability. We need this information to make a decision on your child’s claim. You can access the Child Disability Report at secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i3820/main.html.
Social Security also has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that they obviously meet our strict disability standards.
Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances program enables us to identify diseases and other medical conditions quickly that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. The Compassionate Allowances list allows Social Security to identify the most seriously disabled people for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Supplemental Security Income program. You can learn more about Compassionate Allowances at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.
No matter what month it is, Social Security is here to provide benefits to those with severe disabilities. If you or anyone in your family needs assistance, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

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Dr. Sanjay Bidichandani, CMRI Claire Gordon Duncan Chair in Genetics and a professor of Pediatrics at the OU College of Medicine.

With a new $300,000 grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a researcher with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center hopes to advance the understanding and treatment of a neuromuscular disease called Friedreich ataxia.
With ataxia, parts of the nervous system that control movement and balance are affected, triggering problems with movement and coordination. Friedreich ataxia is the most prevalent inherited ataxia. It typically starts in the early adolescent years with unsteadiness in limb movement and walking. It then progresses to a point where the muscles are so severely uncoordinated that patients must depend upon a wheelchair to get around.
“There is no effective therapy currently available for Friedreich ataxia, and it often results in premature death, usually when the patient is in his or her 30s or 40s,” said principal researcher Dr. Sanjay Bidichandani, who is the CMRI Claire Gordon Duncan Chair in Genetics and a professor of Pediatrics at the OU College of Medicine.
With the new three-year grant, Bidichandani plans to evaluate the effectiveness of a promising new class of drugs known as HDAC inhibitors in the treatment of Friedreich ataxia. HDAC inhibitors essentially help genes that are packaged too tightly to loosen up.
“It’s been 20 years since we helped find the gene for Friedreich ataxia, and now we recognize that the gene is packaged too tightly in the cell in people with this condition,” he said. “It’s what we geneticists call an epigenetic defect.”
As a result, the gene cannot be read effectively, and a key protein is not produced in sufficient quantities. This eventually leads to neurodegeneration and cardiac dysfunction. HDAC inhibitors help reverse this cell “packaging” problem.
“More efficient versions of the currently available HDAC inhibitors are being developed by our collaborators. So we are in the process of testing these, as well as existing HDAC inhibitors, to identify which are most efficient at reversing the specific epigenetic defect in Friedreich ataxia,” Bidichandani said, adding that they hope to identify one or several drugs that might eventually become an approved therapy for the disease in the near future.
This year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association received 350 grant applications, the largest number in its 65-year history of funding basic, translation and clinical neuromuscular research. Bidichandani’s grant was one of only 36 new grants funded this year and the only one in Oklahoma.
“We are extremely proud to be part of the effort to help find a cure for Friedreich ataxia,” Bidichandani said.
Powered by its big-picture perspective to accelerate treatments and cures across the broad spectrum of neuromuscular diseases, the Muscular Dystrophy Association recently awarded $10 million in new research grants to researchers worldwide.
“These new grants are potential game-changers, a signal of our passionate resolve to helping kids and adults fighting neuromuscular diseases live longer and grow stronger,” said Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical & Scientific Officer. “There’s more new drug discovery underway than ever before, and we’re determined to double the number of promising human clinical trials in the next five years.”

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