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In A Dietitian’s Cancer Story: In- formation & Inspiration for Recovery & Healing, author and dietitian Diana Dyer found that meditative move- ment, like yoga and qigong, aided her own healing journey.

Bring something from home to the facility. Family photographs, a fa- vorite blanket or special sweater can help make a strange space feel more personal and cozy. Some care facili- ties even allow visits from pets. Pull up a chair and read stories aloud, sing softly and share memories and images of home.

Think positively and hold healing thoughts. Creative visualization can be a vital healing tool. It is the internal process of embracing healing images and good thoughts and then apply- ing them to our experience and our bodies. For example, Dyer references a horse field she saw outside her rural hospital window during an illness that had left her weak. She focused on the horses’ galloping strength and visual- ized herself running strongly again. Every patient needs an advo- cate to ask questions, take notes and provide a second set of watchful eyes and helping hands. It’s a good idea to keep a dated record of procedures, doctors’ comments, test results and care plans. Meanwhile, protect your loved one’s rest while offering small services that provide great comfort— such as companionship during meals or helping them step outside for some fresh air.

Repeatedly express gratitude to care providers for their services and for incremental gains in healing that bring a loved one ever closer to returning to home sweet home.

For additional insights, visit Health Care Without Harm (

Melinda Hemmelgarn is a registered dietitian and award-winning writer and radio show host, based in Colum- bia, MO. Her daughter recently spent a month in the hospital while recov- ering from a fall. Visit FoodSleuth@ and tune into Food Sleuth Radio online podcasts at

38 Hudson County

naturalpet “

irst-aid is the first thing you can do to help an injured animal if you are prepared,” says Dr. Jason Nicholas, owner of The Preventive Vet, in Portland, Oregon. Attention in cases of injury or sudden illness can help a dog or cat stay more comfortable, stop bleeding and provide temporary relief. A pet first-aid kit can resemble a pantry more than a medicine cabinet. Natural components include: Cool water. Purified water kept in a spray bottle can cool overheated pets. For the fastest results, spray near the pulse points, the “armpits” and where fur is the thinnest. Further, a vet will assess if clinical hydration is needed beyond the water bowl. Saline solution. Versatile saline

is available at the vet’s office or any pharmacy, and also easy and inexpen- sive to make at home. Use it to flush debris from eyes, clean wounds and promote healing from incisions. Two teaspoons of non-iodized salt in four cups of boiled water mim- ics body fluids. The Ohio State University Medical Cen- ter website provides a recipe for normal saline solution at Tinyurl. com/SalineRecipe. Vinegar. It acts as a drying agent, especially for floppy- eared dogs taking a dip in a pool or natural water- way, which can leave the inner ear moist. “Don’t use vinegar if the skin is red or broken because it will be pain- ful,” says Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services

Pet First-Aid Kits F

All-Natural Home Health Care by Sandra Murphy

at Petplan Pet Insurance, in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Never use it more than twice a week. Honey. Apply this sweet unguent to gums to help counteract low blood sugar and shock, particularly when a diabetic pet’s insulin levels are off. Maple syrup is a good substitute. Sugar. Although not recommended in a regular pet diet, sugar can be a topical antibacterial for the short term. Sugar draws water from the wound and dehydrates bacteria, supporting growth of new tissue. Plain yogurt. Adding this healthy

refrigerated topping to dry food will activate a sluggish appetite and supply needed cultures to help balance the digestive system. Cornstarch. This non-toxic remedy helps stop minor bleeding from cuts, scrapes and pedicure accidents. Calendula. Also known as pot marigold, calendula cream may be used as an anti-inflammatory. Bug bites, scrapes, sunburn and itching from allergies also benefit from its application. Aloe. Easily grown in a gar- den or pot and available in gel form, aloe sooths burns, prevents blisters and speeds healing. It also serves as canine Chapstick. “Older dogs often have cracked skin on their noses,” notes Benson. “Aloe helps to heal the skin and keeps the dog comfortable.” Rescue Remedy. Illness or injury brings stress, and one com- mon solution is Rescue Remedy. To relieve fear or anxiety, rub it onto a paw, nose or ears or add the recommended number of drops to water, a treat

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