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


Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 30, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-30-17

Dandelions!!!!!!  Okay, I know you are thinking…”What do dandelions have to do with health?”  As I walk my neighborhood and my own Japanese garden, I see the invasion has begun once again.  I reach down to pull one hoping that I can get the whole thing with my bare hands, and cheer when the root comes out in one piece.  But, the flower has already gone to seed and as I successfully get the plant out of the ground – you guessed it – the fuzzy seeds fly everywhere!  Next crop has already begun!

What does this have to do with health, you ask???  We are in the spring season of sneezing, sneezing, sneezing — allergies, sinus infection, cold—you name it.  As I watched the dandelion seed puffs fly through the air, I saw a clear visual of what a sneeze does!  Those germs are now successfully rooted wherever they landed.  Another person, a piece of food that someone next to you eats, a book that is shared in the pew, all can harbor a sneeze germ, and now it can cause someone else discomfort.

I know a wonderful way to prevent this!!!  Not the sneezing, but the spread of germs!  Yes you have seen it on posters, you have heard it in classrooms, you see it demonstrated when someone else sneezes, and you even see the posters above the sink in our bathrooms.

℞ Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

℞ Sneeze/cough into your elbow if you have no tissue handy!

Well, that was easy!  We could single handedly prevent the spread of germs and stop someone else from getting sick or suffering needlessly.  I hope each of you will be a warrior in the army of germ eradication, and make sure that not one germ from a sneeze gets away from you.  It will successfully die in a tissue or be trapped in your elbow where it won’t spread as rapidly to another unsuspecting host.  Help me stamp out the spread of the springtime germ invasion.  Think of the dandelion seeds blowing through the air and sticking firmly anywhere they land.  Make sure you prevent the spread of your germs from a cough or sneeze.

Now you know the connection between dandelions and healthy habits.  I hope you will spread the word –not the germs!

Live a healthy blessed week sharing His word, not your germs!

Cynthia Rutan, Parish Nurse at Peace


Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 23, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-23-17

The Lenten season walk to the cross of crucifixion was a long journey physically and mentally for all of us, and I am aware of many prayers and praise moments as we all have experienced some of the same feelings that Jesus and his followers were experiencing , albeit in a different setting that today provides.  Last week was such a joyous expression of celebration as we raised our voices loudly to proclaim “He is risen, He is risen indeed!”

This week my hymn of prayer walk focus is number 685 in our hymnal “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus.” The hymn writer tells us many words of encouragement to keep our focus on the resurrection of our Lord:

👣 “Follow His example pure” gives us focus even in a world that continually tries to deceive us and lure us to sin.

👣 “All discomforts that annoy Shall give way to mirth hereafter.”

👣 “He will free us from destruction, Give us immortal breath.”

These are but a few of the words of encouragement in the hymn verses, and I encourage you to carry the words with you as you walk or do your daily devotion, to continue to walk close to our Lord in His will for us.  The Bible verses in very small print at the bottom of the hymnal page 685 further encourage and tell us of His ever present help and strength.  Study them as you walk, and apply them to your daily struggles and strengths.

He is risen!  “Let us also live with Jesus.  He has risen from the dead that to life we may awaken.  Jesus you are now our head.  We are Your own living members…” (vs. 4)

Keep walking with Him.  He will not abandon you in your struggles and will celebrate your victory with Him as you grow in faith toward life eternal.  Please contact me if I can be of help to you in your walk.

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



Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 9, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-09-17

This past week I was attending a Parish Nurse Coordinator Educational Retreat at Mt. Angel, Oregon for three days.  The area was a beautiful place to walk and think and just enjoy a change of pace while learning new updates in the tools we use in our health ministry programs in the church setting.

I was asked to provide a devotion to begin one day of activities, and almost like a lightning bolt came the thought for my sharing: CHANGE.

We are enjoying a change of season with warmer days, sunshine, beautiful flowers and trees.  As we age, change is a reflection of our growth and the vitality inherent in our youthfulness.  Age brings about many positive changes in our life, but it also can bring tragedy, defeat, or loss.  In our faith growth we also see changes in our perception, our understanding, and our coping with life changes.

One very comforting thought for our strength is the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A beautiful sharing of that verse is in hymn 762, “There Is a Time for Everything,” in our LSB hymnal.

As we begin our Holy Week walk, I urge each of you to spend time each day in scripture considering the changes occurring in your life right now or from the past that you haven’t processed.  Tell God about the thoughts you are having.  In this searching of your soul, now shift to the ending of Holy Week that gives us the joyous resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  Our faith is the best prescription ever: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 (KJV).  God has given us both His promise and His oath.  These two things are unchangeable.  Praise be to God!

So, let the changes come.  We will not walk in fear, but in faith!  We will trust God with all the changes, and know that He will help us and bless us with each changing day.

Walk with joy in your heart and know that He is with you every step of the way!

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


Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 2, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-02-17

For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water,

whose branches are refreshed with the dew.

Job 29:19 (nlt)

There is such pleasure in the spring season as we begin to see plants coming back to life, and as Christians we are being given a beautiful reminder of Easter and the resurrection of Christ.

The season also holds healthy feelings and emotions out for us to experience.

As I walked with someone through the hallway entrance of a hospital recently, I was moved by the many ways the décor and design created a plethora of senses.  A waterfall gave a calmness to the nervousness the person with me was feeling.  We stopped for a minute in front of some beautiful art displayed in paintings and sculpture, and her comment was, “I feel better already, and I am not even with the doctor.”

When you are stressed, do you find nature is helpful to you in reducing that stress?  Walking on the beach, hiking an easy trail in a wooded park or campground, going for a drive to see the spring flower displays in our northern bulb farms, experiencing the soothing scents of lavender at the farmers market booths, you can see stress relief before your very eyes!

Many businesses as well as parks and other recreational areas are seeing the benefit of nature to reduce stress in our lives.  I really enjoy ending a day of stressful encounters just sitting on a park bench overlooking the water watching the gulls, ferry and other boat traffic and a beautiful sunset on a clear day.  The brief respite this creates immediately decreases stress levels, lowers the blood pressure, and begins to ease the pain of the life experiences we have or have seen others experience.  Even something as simple as spending a few minutes in your yard or living surroundings at a park or nursery or other display of nature can benefit you in your ability to re-focus on the beauty of God’s creation and strength you can find in it.

Job struggled through his life, but he was able to gain an understanding and strength from God to endure all that he experienced in his struggles, and we can do likewise.

I pray that each of you take a few moments to look around you as you walk your daily journey, and stop to pray a pray of thanks for all our Lord and Savior has given to us in His death and resurrection.

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