Parish Nurse Health Tips 10-22-17

Parish Nurse Health Tips 10-22-17

Last Sunday we celebrated LWML Sunday and recognized the many things that our ladies have done to serve the Lord – quilts, school packs, shawl ministry, baby items, health kits, holiday gifts for Seafarers through the Seafarer Center in Tacoma, homeless outreach … the list is endless, and the selfless sharing of God’s gifts is amazingly wonderful.

Another awareness sharing today is one that is not always wrapped in joy and good, but is nonetheless having a huge impact on the lives of many of you seated in worship with us: the awareness of cancer and the impact it has had on many of us. Today is also St. Luke the Healer and Evangelist Day when we share a prayer for those who are needing His strength and healing.

Last Wednesday, at Tea and Chat, we were blessed to have Mary DeMers, Hospice Nurse from MultiCare, share beautiful stories about a difficult time in many lives, end of life journeys.

Cancer is a disease that tries very hard to rob us of our health and hope in life itself, it fractures families, and robs us of so much emotionally, as well as physically.  Many who have not experienced it are at a loss as to how to react when they hear of a family member or friend dealing with cancer.  Those who are diagnosed with the disease run the gauntlet of emotional feelings.

Most of all, though, I want to share HOPE.  I know from experience that God places people and professionals in our path when we need them the most.  Many cancer outcomes are not happy.  Many lives are shortened here on earth, but one song lingers in my “hope” chest, It only takes a spark…

I call hope my “pilot light” and it is lit by God at the moment of conception and is with me until my soul is called home.  For ourselves and for those we know who are experiencing cancer, let’s all keep that light burning.

If you know someone who could use some hope and prayer on their journey, please let me know.

I encourage you to read through the beautiful words of another hymn #575, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” in our hymnal. Look at the scripture references at the bottom of the page and use them for your hope in the issues you face daily.  Our God is our hope and our anchor!  Turn to Him!

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace


Parish Nurse Health Tips for July 16, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Notes for July 16, 2017

God nourishes the whole earth with refreshing water, yielding a bountiful harvest. His Word does the same—nourishing faith, refreshing souls, and increasing joy. We dare not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit who magnifies and sheds all kinds of God’s goodness upon us and makes us heirs of an incomparable wealth in the Gospel of Christ, recipients of His life-giving Word, and inheritors of the everlasting Kingdom of God.

I shopped this week for Health Care Items for our group leaders for VBS that starts tomorrow!  (ARE YOU REGISTERED?). In my office are many bottles of water as a main staple item for these group leader bags.  As I read the theme scriptures for our worship today, I knew my article had to focus on water!

News broadcasts every day recently have shown the devastating fires through our northwest, and the water that is needed to extinguish the fires is so precious. When we have gatherings at church we always have coolers of water to drink (as well as Lutheran tradition coffee!), and I always have water containers in my car and in my backpack when I am traveling.  On flights, the airline always provides water for the passengers.

So, let’s think for a minute about why water is so important to our health (here comes the parish nurse at work!):

Dehydration…we hear frequent complaints of “I am so tired”… and the health provider responds is usually, “how much water have you been drinking?”  8-10 glasses of water are used as a base for most health protocols and the doctor can help you know your need based on your health parameters.

“I can’t thinkmy brain is tired.”  I hear this frequently when I am checking blood pressures, and the answer to the “how much water have you been drinking?” question is the key to finding a way to refresh the brain.  Water gives the brain much needed oxygen to perform at top level in daily activities.  Have you noticed that water coolers and bottles of water are standard in classrooms at many meetings and classes?  Our brains need the boost!

Heart protection!  We immediately begin fluids when the medics respond to possible heart attack calls.  Keeping yourself hydrated could help prevent heart attacks.  A recent article I read mentioned the benefits of a glass of water before you go to bed can help.

Weight control is a big topic for many, and several responses to success in weight loss programs has been “I am drinking more water instead of snacking or sugar drinks.”  An added bonus is the $$$$$ you save by not buying soda and sweetened drinks!

The scriptures for today are an excellent correlation of Water and the Word in our whole health.  Our whole health needs nourishment and we need to “read, learn, and inwardly digest” what God tells us to do to care for our bodies in our daily faith walk.  So…Drink to health and spiritual growth!  And, enjoy the VBS activities on our campus this week.  I will be here most mornings to help with health questions you might have….between Band-Aid patrol and water patrol…

Blessings on your faith walk,

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace,



Parish Nurse Health Tips for July 9, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips for 07-09-17


With all the beautiful summer days we are having and with VBS just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to review some thoughts on First Aid from a whole person viewpoint.

…from the physical dimension we read in Psalm 139: 13-14 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  It is important to care for our bodies by preparing a simple first aid kit that will cover the types of injuries we might encounter on our summertime activities.  Basic items like hand sanitizer, Q-tips, antibiotic ointment, scissors and tweezers as well as plenty of band aids of several sizes, tape, elastic wraps, cold packs, gloves, plastic bags.  Today we can find various sizes of first aid kits ready made with most of the items you need.

First aid from the emotional dimension has us focusing on Romans 12:9 that tells us to live in harmony with one another.  Much prayer is needed in the unrest we see in our world, especially that we are careful to share with our young family members the wonderful way God can help us focus on the positive…Honor one another above oneself, be faithful in prayer for one another and share God’s love with those who are in need.

We all know, as children of earthly parents and children of God, that we also need first aid in our spiritual life.  Ruth Daumer, in Seasons for Wholeness Vol. 3 tells it well.  First, to cleanse our wounds, we need confession.  If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jn1:9).  Second, we need to dress our wounds, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14). Third, we need to be healed of our diseases and infirmities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (Is.53:5)  Fourth, as we are nourished with the Word and Sacraments we are enabled to live healed lives in which we: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 26:28; Mk 12:30-31).

I plan to hold these reminders of the great physician in my heart each day!  For those who are planning to come to VBS, we will hear even more of the healing strength of our Lord.  I am looking forward to a well-stocked First Aid Kit this year.  I hope you have one, too.

God be with you in all your walks and in all your ways.

Cynthia Rutan RN, Parish Nurse at Peace,


Parish Nurse Health Tips for July 2, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips for 07-02-17

Summer is here! It is time to share some summer health and safety tips as we get outside or do projects indoors.  A few simple precautions can help make the summertime fun and safe:

The Sun is shining brightly!

It is so easy to take a few minutes to reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

Sunscreen and lip balm with at least SPF 30. Make sure to apply frequently!

Wear sun glasses with a high UV rating (100 is the best), and brimmed head covering.

About the outdoors…

There is so much to do outdoors, but a bit of common sense is in order to make it safer:

Learn to identify poisonous plants, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac and share that knowledge with your children at an early age.

Ticks can be found around our area, so it is important to check your body after being in areas where they might be found, and know how to deal with one if you find it on your body.

Bicycling and other wheeled sport activities…

Always, always, always wear a helmet!

To protect the brain and skull from serious injury, wear a helmet during any activity that involves wheels, concrete or asphalt.

Make sure the helmet is fitted properly and check frequently to assure continued fit.

Water sport safety…

Encourage learning basic swimming skills, read any posted rules before entering the water.

It is encouraged that all young children wear some type of life jacket.

Never leave a child or someone who cannot swim alone and unsupervised.

All this sounds very simple, and it is…if we take time to do it right…from the beginning.  It is an easy thing to forget some of the basics, so a review is always a refreshing way to show that you are willing and eager to take care of the body that God has given to you.

 Blessed July 4!  Be safe!  Live in His protecting hand as you enjoy summer.

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace,


Parish Nurse Health Tips for June 25, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Notes 06-25-17

June has been a packed full month of activities and summer schedules are in full swing.  I have noticed a common thread in all of the events and I am using one word to describe what I see and hear … CHANGE.

In my field of nursing we are seeing health care changes.  One thing that has come to light in the many research articles I have received shows that we can implement changes in our brain health by practicing some positive lifestyle changes.

Our summer Sunday School activities are implementing some of these activities as we fellowship together – young and “less young” together exploring God’s word and keeping mind and body active as we refresh our brain.  As we age, we change physically, mentally and emotionally; and our daily level of activity, nourishment and rest can have a huge bearing on our brain health as well as our physical health.

Intergenerational activities are a great way to keep us active.   Safety issues are very important to review as we begin our summer.  The more robust activities that we undertake during the summer increase our risk of falling and possible traumatic head injury.  Some ways to help prevent this possibility can include:

🚨 Exercise: walking, yoga, Tai Chi all help to develop balance that can reduce the risk of falling.

🚨 Eye Exam: an eye exam yearly can help prevent vision changes that can compromise your safety in all aspects of life.

🚨 Ear Problems: such as ringing in the ears, decreased hearing, etc., can cause equilibrium problems that increase fall risk

🚨 Home Safety: changes such as grippers on the back of area rugs, bathroom safety rails and rails on stairs will greatly reduce the risk of falls and physical injury.

🚨 Sleep Pattern Support: to assure that we are nourishing our brain and decreasing loss of function.

On Wednesday this week I will be presenting some helps for talking to your doctor.  I encourage all of you to think about your most recent visits to the doctor, things that went right and things that didn’t.  We will enjoy Tea, Coffee, and goodies and spend an hour getting some tips on how to make those doctor visits more productive.  We meet at 9:30 in the parish hall.  Please set aside time to get tips on making your health a priority.  I hope to see you there!

Blessings on a healthy and safe week, and don’t forget to join me on Wednesday.  You’ll be glad you did!

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace,


Parish Nurse Health Tips June 18, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 06-18-17

Today is a very special day to recognize and appreciate all that our fathers have done for us through the generations.  Now that school is out for most of our community schools, the roles of fathers and mothers goes into overdrive.  I thought a few helps or ideas to get everyone on the same page for summer might be helpful!  Everyone from child to great grandparents and extended family can make summer a win memory for all!

SHOPPING FOR SUMMER MEALS is always a challenge when kids are home or grandkids are visiting.  If possible, have a family meeting, and make lists of what the food likes and dislikes are before going shopping.  It is amazing to parents to hear “I don’t like that!” from a child who has always eaten something.  Tastes change as we grow and age – even the ‘more mature’ members of the family can attest to that.  Encourage including something new in every grocery shopping trip and make it a fun experience to try new foods.  Make sure you encourage water as a main fluid – juices and soda tend to pack into body cells and store sugar and fat, and using them as primary fluid intake leads to childhood obesity problems (and it doesn’t help the aging body, either!).

Use the summer months to reinforce and establish basic house rules and chore schedules.  Simple tasks of housekeeping your own turf and caring for the common turf to minimize cleaning needs will make the younger family learn responsibility and independence from the start, and it will help the parents and grandparents have more time to spend doing fun things with the family.  Bed making, clothes sorting, washing and folding, dusting, washing windows, sweeping sidewalks (and vacuuming own turf when able) are all things that are easy to learn and make for a smoother running and happier household.  All this needs to be done using love and example and praise, so that it will grow into a habit that will carry forth from childhood to adulthood.

I urge all parents and families to get busy right now to schedule necessary doctor, dentist and other necessary medical appointments early in the summer. As a family practice nurse, I can tell you that waiting till the last minute makes for a very stressful time for all, and I felt so bad when I had to say ‘we have no more appointment time available before school starts (very common the last week or two before school begins!).  Make sure all immunizations are current early in the summer and have the updates ready for the school when they ask.  If you don’t like having to tell your child something ten times, imagine how the school feels when they have to ask ten times for the required documents.  Be proactive, be an example of responsibility and a proud child of God who is taking good and responsible care of your body that He gave to you.

God’s blessings to each of you and know that I am available for questions and help by just letting me know.

Cynthia Rutan, RN,  Parish Nurse at Peace,


Parish Nurse Health Tips for May 14, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 05-14-17

How is your blood pressure?  This month I am focusing on

Blood Pressure & Cholesterol & Stroke Awareness.

Stroke is also called brain attack and is caused when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or suffers an aneurysm that ruptures.  When this happens, part of the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients and will result in death of brain cells in minutes.  Another term you might have heard is TIA (Transient Ischemic Attacks) or ‘mini strokes which presents with symptoms like a stroke but are not usually permanent.  High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of a stroke and is a condition that can go undetected for a long while.  Other causes are narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis), aneurysms, and atrial fibrillation.

Care providers are now becoming more pro-active in encouraging folks to be aware of their blood pressure with self- monitoring on a regular basis to get a baseline picture and learn the things that can trigger elevated readings.

Warning signs of stroke can include:

℞ Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;

℞ Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;

℞ Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;

℞ Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;

℞ Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay!   Call 9-1-1 immediately!  To help determine the correct treatment protocol, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.  It is very important to take immediate action.  If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-bursting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke (information gathered from American Heart Association material).

I hope to see many of you start getting your blood pressure checked here on a weekly basis this month to help you see your normal reading average as well as being aware of events that trigger elevated readings.

I encourage you to ask your care provider for information about medications you are taking for blood pressure or heart issues, and also be aware of your family history of any cardiac conditions to share with your doctor.

“I pray that you may enjoy good health and all may go well with you even as your soul is getting along well’ (3 Jn2)

See you between services today in the parish hall or in my office during Sunday School hour.

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church & School