Nursing Outtakes
Perspectives from a woman, mother, cat-mom, and nurse
RN Research - for Duty and Humanity
Old Age Ain't No Place for Sissies*. And the Quest for a More Youthful Appearance
Nursing Outtakes

Old Age Ain't No Place for Sissies*. And the Quest for a More Youthful Appearance

During a phone conversation with a friend who’s also in his 60s, I mentioned how I now used a magnifying mirror when applying my makeup. His response was, “My God, why would you care at our age?”

Well, I care. Because I’m not dead yet!  And because I’m still very much alive, taking care of myself, which includes wearing makeup, though not as heavily as in my youth (I’ve found as I age, “less is more”) gives me a better body self-image. When I feel I’m the best version of myself I’m more positive about life and it lifts my spirits, even if I’m home alone all day. Being in your 60s and beyond is never an excuse for devaluing yourself!

I’m not advocating any medical cosmetic procedures (I’ve had none) but if this is what it takes to feel better about yourself and the face you present to the world, then go for it if you’re physically sound enough to withstand the procedure.

The fact is, we’re all aging, even the young-ish people we see on the internet. The aging process typically begins in the 40s and 50s, but can covertly begin as early as the mid-30s and continue more brazenly after that. Even if your muscles are toned, repetitive expressions will etch lines in your skin. (Remember how your mom said if you keep making that face it’d get stuck that way? Well, she had something there!)

Psychological Benefits of Caring for Your Aging Self

In my nursing career, which has encompassed hospice, geriatric, home care, oncology, psychiatric, and wound care, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the changes that take place among the mentally depressed, the older, sicker patients I’ve had. It was astonishing how even a dying woman would perk up when given a “make-over”, usually by her daughter or friend (or a 2-bit shave and a haircut for men). Psychiatric patients responded by becoming less depressed, more optimistic, and social. Many rated themselves more highly on many psychological assessments.

It is worth noting that many nursing homes, hospices (yes, hospices!), psychiatric facilities, and oncology programs have small salons stationed within their units for women who wish to have their hair styled and/or makeup applied (usually by volunteers who come in once a week).

One study found that those who look older than their chronological age died earlier and were less physically healthy. (Kligman AM, Graham JA. The psychology of appearance in the elderly. Clin Geriatr Med. 1989 Feb;5(1):213-22. PMID: 2645998.) It was concluded that “cosmetics can help the elderly attain some of the benefits enjoyed by the physically attractive.”

An investigative article by the BBC stated, “Most people felt about eight years younger than their actual chronological age. But some felt they had aged – and the consequences were serious. Feeling between 8 and 13 years older than your actual age resulted in an 18-25% greater risk of death over the study periods, and greater disease burden – even when you control for other demographic factors such as education, race or marital status.”

I’m not saying we need to try to give the illusion of turning back the clock such as Cher, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and John Travolta have and who all admit to repeated plastic surgeries. Their faces, after all, are their fortunes. And that, after all, is Hollywood. What I am suggesting is that we still care for our skin, our bodies and appearance to become the best version of our present selves that we possibly can.

Celebrate Our Bodies 

We need to celebrate our bodies and faces regardless of where we are in life. Was a time when I had this image in my head of my being forever 24. Then I’d pass by a mirror and think, “Who the hell is that old bag?" Then the self-examination, self-deprecation would begin.

Ruby Woo and Me

Until one day, the light bulb went off and I realized no matter how my face and body had aged, it was like my 25 year old Ford pickup truck (which no one seems to understand why I still drive it!). It’s older, true. Dents and dings, more than 150,000  miles, faded paint, shocks going out, manual transmission, dome light doesn’t work. But that little truck is mechanically sound, turns over in sub-zero-temperatures when other, newer, bells and whistles cars have dead batteries. A few years ago, a brand new Lincoln turned into me at an intersection. The Lincoln had to be towed away on a flatbed truck while I drove off in my little truck, head lights still working and with the mechanical parts still intact. I call her Ruby Woo (after the Mac lipstick) and she’s reliable, takes me where I want to go and is very low maintenance, her appearance be damned.

I’m like Ruby Woo. After all I’ve put my body through, it’s always come through for me after 60+ years! All the traumas, physical and mental, passage of time, physical punishments (like being on my feet for 12-18 hours a day, lifting heavy loads, going on 4 hours of sleep at times, broken bones), serious illnesses and accidents, I am still here. Maybe a little slower and some aches and pains, but still reliable and continue to function to a degree that surprises even me. I realized how remarkable and awesome my body is for all I’ve put it through!

My Epiphany 

So instead of denigrating my body and its appearance to myself, I realized, with gratitude, the debt I owed it to treat it well, and yes, that includes using cosmetics just as I’d use touch-up paint and body work on Ruby Woo. You don’t stop caring for something because it’s old.

It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now**

I’d suggest you begin watching on YouTube other women close in age to you that are still having a love affair with life and have a positive take on living your best life after 60. My favorite is Polished After 60. I’m sure you can find others. Start putting on your lipstick. Comb your hair. Get it styled (in my case, I’ve learned how to cut my own; not as difficult as you might think with the plethora of YouTube tutorials). Experiment with some makeup (wasn’t that one of the most fun things to do as a girl?) Take your vitamins. Try to maintain the social relationships you already have and whenever possible, develop some new, even if the person is younger than yourself. 

Always remember  

You are awesome and your body, which includes your face, are a miracle. Treat it well!

*Bette Davis quote **Author Barbara Sher

Copyright ©2022 Guiomar Goransson All rights reserved.

Nursing Outtakes

Stopping MS Disease-Modifying Therapy After Age 60

Stopping disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who were >60 years did not lead to any significant difference in outcome compared with patients who continued treatment, a new study shows.

Researchers evaluated 600 MS patients who were >60 years. where DMT was discontinued for 178 patients, or about 30% of the group.

"In the first study we did, by just looking at those who stopped medication by age 60, we only had 10% who restarted medication, and only one relapse out of those 178 patients who stopped," Le Hanh Hua, MD, staff neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada stated, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

In a subsequent study, Hua and colleagues focused on quality of life and performance measures. "And there was no harm — patients do not worsen in terms of their walking speed, hand function, or depression."

"There have been prior discontinuation studies that have not been as successful as we wanted them to be," Hua said. She noted that many of these studies investigated stopping DMT on the basis of disease stability.

In contrast, the current study assessed patient age as a factor in “MS burnout” (an informal colloquialism for MS progression that has stalled for a number of years in those over 60). "The idea is, when you're young with early MS, your disease is overwhelmingly inflammatory," she said. "When you get older, the overt inflammation tends to die down."

Copyright ©2022 Guiomar Goransson All rights reserved.
Nursing Outtakes

Why Nurses are Still Called “Sister” in Other Countries

In England and other mostly European countries, nurses are still called “sister” because nursing care was historically provided mostly by nuns. In modern times, both in the U.S. and abroad, many hospitals were owned and operated by religious orders of nuns whose ministry was nursing and they also ran nursing schools.

Additionally, 20th Century nurses’ caps were originally derived from the bandeau (white crown which veil sits upon) worn by nuns.

Copyright ©2022 Guiomar Goransson All rights reserved.

Snakeman" Bill Haast, Medical Venom Supplier  

"Snakeman" Bill Haast, who died in 2011 at the age of 100, was perhaps the quintessential snake handler. At his Miami Serpentarium, he put on shows for tourists — but that was really a side gig. Despite having no formal science training, Haast was for decades the foremost medical venom supplier in the United States, milking the likes of king cobras, diamondback rattlesnakes, green mambas and blue kraits. After 3 years and 69,000 milkings, he delivered the pint of coral-snake venom that led to the first-ever anti-venom for that snake's bite.

Haast eventually turned his own blood into a venom antidote by injecting small amounts of venom every day for decades, and transfusions of his blood saved at least 20 people. He partnered with a doctor in the 1970s to develop venom-derived treatments for conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's, but despite showing promise they were ultimately banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Nursing Outtakes

Researchers explain the science behind “hearing the dead”  

September 9, 2022

Open Access Government News, Research & Innovation

According to Durham University, mediums who are “hearing the dead” can have a history of unusual auditory experiences – they are more likely to experience absorption, which is linked to altered states of consciousness.

There are countless beliefs about what awaits humanity on the other side of death. For some it is Heaven or reincarnation, for others, it is the soil of the earth or a new world. Then, there are further divisions – those who believe communication is possible, and those who don’t.

This research was conducted by Durham University to examine what makes some people more likely to believe.

In the current pandemic, over two million people have died. As vaccination patterns are slowly creaking to life in some countries, others are still waiting for their first innoculations. More deaths are coming, straining both the mental and physical health of the global population. This is an unprecedented situation, which has led to communities seeking support in one another.

Firstly, what is Spiritualism?

One of these communities is the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU). Their website describes Spiritualism as the “true” way to communicate with “departed spirits”: “Spiritualist churches and centres provide many of the venues where communication, through mediumship, is possible and many loved relatives and friends take advantage of this opportunity to continue to show an interest in our welfare and us.”

Interest in Spiritualism is increasing in the UK, with several organisations supporting, training, and offering the services of practising mediums. The SNU claims to have a congregation of around 11,000 people today.

The researchers conducted a survey of 65 clairaudient spiritualist mediums from the Spiritualists’ National Union and 143 members of the general population in the largest scientific study into the experiences of clairaudient mediums.

Dr Peter Moseley, co-author on the study at Northumbria University, commented: “Spiritualists tend to report unusual auditory experiences which are positive, start early in life and which they are often then able to control. Understanding how these develop is important because it could help us understand more about distressing or non-controllable experiences of hearing voices too.”

Secondly, what did the researchers find out about communication?

Through their study, the researchers gathered detailed descriptions of the way that mediums experience spirit ‘voices’, and compared levels of absorption, hallucination-proneness, aspects of identity, and belief in the paranormal.

Less than half spoke to the dead everyday.

They found that 44.6% of spiritualist participants reported hearing the voices of the deceased on a daily basis, with 33.8% reporting an experience of clairaudience within the last day.

Part of the daily routine for those who did.

A large majority (79%) said that experiences of auditory spiritual communication were part of their everyday lives, taking place both when they were alone and when they were working as a medium or attending a spiritualist church.
Inside or outside the mind?

Although spirits were primarily heard inside the head (65.1%), 31.7% of spiritualist participants said they experienced spirit voices coming from both inside and outside of their minds.

Usually 21 when the communication begins.

Spiritualists reported first experiencing clairaudience at an average age of 21.7 years. However, 18% of spiritualists reported having clairaudient experiences ‘for as long as they could remember’ and 71% had not encountered Spiritualism as a religious movement prior to their first experiences.

Thirdly, how do these experiences compare to the general population?

For the general population, absorption was linked to levels of belief in the paranormal, but there was no significant corresponding link between belief and hallucination-proneness.

To understand any of this, first we have to understand what absorption is.
According to this research, absorption reflects an individual’s cognitive capacity for involvement in sensory and imaginative experiences in ways that alter an individual’s perception, memory, and mood with behavioural and biological consequences. In the words of Auke Tellegen, the psychologist who coined the term, it is a disposition or personality trait that allows a person to become absorbed in their mental imagery.

The researchers say their findings suggest that it is not giving in to social pressure, learning to have specific expectations, or a level of belief in the paranormal that leads to experiences of spirit communication.

Instead, it seems that some people are uniquely predisposed to absorption and are more likely to report unusual auditory experiences occurring early in life. For many of these individuals, spiritualist beliefs are embraced because they align meaningfully with those unique personal experiences.

‘Learning and yearning’

Lead researcher Dr Adam Powell, in Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project and Department of Theology and Religion, said: “Our findings say a lot about ‘learning and yearning’. For our participants, the tenets of Spiritualism seem to make sense of both extraordinary childhood experiences as well as the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practising mediums.
“But all of those experiences may result more from having certain tendencies or early abilities than from simply believing in the possibility of contacting the dead if one tries hard enough.”