601 A Leah Avenue San Marcos, TX 78666 Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
1009 W. San Antonio Street Lockhart, TX 78644 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month
‘EAR, NEWS, AND THROAT’
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Adapting to Unexpected Changes
Of all the unexpected things that happened over the last fewmonths, the most surprising for me was the fact that, in the middle of a global pandemic, my wife and I got sick less often than we usually do. This probably had something to do with the fact that Audrey wasn’t going to preschool during the stay-at-home order and therefore not bringing all those extra germs into the house. The school she goes to is very nice, but anyone who’s ever been around toddlers knows that they could give Typhoid Mary a run for her money. Spending weeks stuck at the house made us all a bit stir-crazy, but we knew how important it was for us to stay healthy, especially Renee. There’s no research to suggest that pregnant women are more at risk for COVID-19, but she wasn’t about to take any chances. We all stayed home as much as possible. Renee did her exercise classes online, and we got pretty familiar with what Netflix has to offer. I’m incredibly grateful that we were able to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. At work, we have made some changes to help keep everyone as safe as possible. When the virus was ramping up, I had to adapt the office to provide telemedicine. This wasn’t something I’d ever done before. Only patients with emergency cases were allowed to physically come in the office, so I was glad I could still provide an option for patients who needed a checkup or a consultation. When telemedicine works, it’s pretty great. We can just send the patient a link over text message that will bring them directly to the video chat. Unfortunately, it only worked sometimes. All too often, the program would crash, and we had to continue the appointment over the telephone. While having telemedicine as an option was good, it’s not well-suited for the ENT specialty. I was still able to help patients and make a good guess about what they were experiencing, but it’s hard to look in someone’s ears over video chat. That said, as we recover, I think we’ll continue using telemedicine as an option for nonemergency situations.
It’s going to take a while for things to go back to normal. We can’t just jump back into business as usual. It could take months for the world as a whole to recover. During that time, our team at the office will be doing our part to keep people safe. I am seeing more patients in the office, with the following heightened safety measures in place: 1. All patients must bring and wear a mask the entire time they are in the office. Cloth or other homemade masks are acceptable. We have a very limited supply and cannot provide masks. Any patient who arrives without a mask will be turned away and rescheduled to a later appointment.
2. No patients will stay in our waiting room. Knock on the clinic door and someone will bring you straight back to the exam room.
3. There will be a maximum of one new patient and two follow-up patients per hour in the office. This should minimize delays.
4. New patients must do their intake paperwork ahead of time through the online portal or by printing it at home. If this is not possible, you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointment time and fill out paperwork in your car.
5. Only the patient will be allowed in the office. For children and adult patients who require a caretaker, one adult may accompany the patient.
6. My staff and I will wear masks during all patient encounters.
7. We are performing diligent hand-washing and extra cleaning precautions.
8. We have placed HEPA air scrubbers in each exam room. These will remove over 99.9% of respiratory droplets and other contaminants from the air.
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Vacations provide opportunities for families to spend time together in a relaxed environment, get away from the routines of everyday life, and create meaningful memories. If you’ve recently had to cancel a trip but still want to create the experience of a vacation for your family, then a staycation is just what you need. TRANSFORMYOUR BACKYARD When you’re trying to recreate a vacation, the outdoor areas of your home present a variety of possibilities. You can turn a sandbox into a relaxing beach, complete with a kiddie pool “ocean.” If you have trees, then set up a zip line or obstacle course. You can even stimulate summer brains with a scavenger hunt around the backyard with hidden clues in the dirt or bushes. The ultimate prize can be something you would have purchased on your original vacation, like a souvenir you can find online. CREATE A‘FAMILY MUSEUM’ Many vacations include an educational aspect in order to enrich our understanding of the place we’re visiting, and museums are a great way to accomplish that. If you’re confined to the house, then teach your kids about your own knowledge and interests and encourage them to get creative and make their own contributions, too. Have everyone create art, take photos, or write about their prized possessions. Display these masterpieces around your home and let their creators take you on a tour. Learning more about one another builds meaningful bonds. BRINGYOUR TRIP HOME You probably chose your original vacation destination in order to experience new and different cultures and activities. But just because you’re no longer traveling to that location doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of what it has to offer! Research popular local cuisine, activities, and history of the area, then create ways to experience themwith your family. Cook a traditional meal, recreate a scenic location through photographs, or share a story about local lore and history. Your changed plans will no longer feel like a missed opportunity. Staying at home doesn’t mean your family can’t have the fun of a vacation. All it takes is a little creativity and innovation to build an experience that will bring your family closer together.
It’s Time to Raise a Glass! YOUR GUIDE TO THE PERFECT VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR
If you can’t see your friends in person to clink wine glasses or whiskey tumblers, never fear: A virtual happy hour can bring all of your closest pals right into your living room. The concept is simple. Using online meetup programs like
Google Hangouts, Zoom, or FaceTime, you can drink with friends across the country without leaving home.
If you don’t want to get out of your sweatpants but want to sip a classy cocktail, this is a win-win. But, you can also ditch the sweats and go all-out for the full virtual happy hour (VHH) experience. Here are five short steps to VHH success. 1. Pick your platform. In the days leading up to your VHH, your friends need to agree on a single platform. Once you choose, make sure everyone has downloaded it and encourage your buddies to do a test run to ensure they can be seen and heard. 2. Theme it up. Every party is better with a theme, and VHH is no exception! Considering the decade, Roaring ‘20s is a popular choice, but you can go with whatever floats your friend group’s boat, whether that’s Kentucky Derby or "Harry Potter" (alcoholic butterbeer, anyone?). 3. Write your menu. While you could just drink whatever beer or half-open bottle of wine is sitting in your respective refrigerators, where’s the fun in that? To really class up your VHH, chat with your friends about the ingredients you all have on hand and come up with a themed cocktail menu to “order” from on the big night. 4. Dress to the nines. Since you’re in the privacy of your own home, you can try out your wackiest, fanciest outfits without public judgment. If you’ve always wanted to try on a Roaring ‘20s flapper dress or a Roman toga, now is the time! Remember, if you go with the "Harry Potter" theme, your bathrobe could easily pass as a wizard’s robe in a pinch. 5. Drink! You’ve planned perfectly, so now it’s time to enjoy each other’s company. Plus, there’s one final perk: Since you’re drinking and giggling on your own couch, you don’t need to worry about a designated driver or an Uber to get you the handful of steps to your bedroom. You’ve got this!
3 WORKOUTS FOR STRESS RELIEF
Stress management is an important part of maintaining your overall health. The events of these last fewmonths have created a lot of extra stress in all our lives. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, here are some exercises you can do at home to help you relax. YOGA Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines, which can be really helpful when you’re feeling stressed. You don’t have to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel in order to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Any level of stretching can lead to a great workout. Plus, the Mayo Clinic has found that yoga can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Find excellent, free yoga videos you can do at home at YouTube.com/user/yogawithadriene/ . TAI CHI The Mayo Clinic has called tai chi “a gentle way to fight stress.” Developed as a martial art in ancient China, today tai chi is usually used as a meditative exercise that prompts strength and flexibility. There are many forms and styles of tai chi. When you find a style you enjoy, tai chi can quickly become an effective exercise for stress relief. While attending a class with a master is the best way to learn tai chi, you can also practice at home with books or videos. GARDENING Typical gardening tasks, like raking, weeding, and harvesting, exercise most of the muscles in your body. Research from the University of Arkansas found that women aged 50
or older who gardened at least once a week had higher bone density measurements than those who were sedentary or did other forms of physical fitness. Additionally, The American Institute of Stress found that gardening is a very effective form of stress relief. This is because gardening promotes personal creativity and mental focus and helps you get more vitamin D from sunlight. Not sure how to start your garden in the wake of a pandemic? The National Gardening Association has put together some great resources at Garden.org/covid19/ . Exercise in general is a great source of stress relief. If these options don’t speak to you, feel free to explore other workouts you’ll enjoy. The important thing is to stay healthy and relaxed.
... CONTINUED FROM COVER
HAVE A LAUGH
9. All patients will be screened prior to their appointments for fever, cough, shortness of breath, cold/flu symptoms, red eyes, loss of smell/taste, and body aches.
10. Telemedicine appointments will still be available for higher risk patients and for routine follow-up issues (like test results, etc.).
11. For surgeries and office procedures, we will arrange for patients to have a COVID-19 test 1-2 days before the procedure date.
As a doctor, the health and safety of my patients has always been my No. 1 priority. The COVID-19 pandemic made that responsibility all the more serious. In an ideal world, we could all stay home until a vaccine is readily available. Of course, this isn’t a realistic option. People need to go to work or go to the doctor. We can’t stay inside watching Netflix for the rest of the year, so we need to do our part to minimize the risk as much as possible.
If you have any questions about a condition or new protocols at the office, don’t hesitate to give us a call. I want our patients to feel safe when they come see us.
–Dr. Seth Evans
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
1180 SETON PARKWAY, SUITE 330 KYLE, TX 78640
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Page 1 How Long Until Things Are ‘Normal'?
Page 2 3 Enriching Staycation Ideas
Page 2 Your Guide to the Perfect Virtual Happy Hour
Page 3 Does Gardening Count as Exercise?
Page 4 Word From the Westies
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A TALKING DOG?!
Stella’s New Skills
practice. Thanks to their hard work, Stella has even learned how to put together phrases!
Izzy and Emma here. Today, we want to talk about tricks. Whether it’s the basics like sit and stay, or the more theatrical tricks like shake or play dead, we dogs love to show off our skills. Recently, we learned about a dog from San Diego who knows a pretty good trick herself. She can speak! Stella is a heeler-Catahoula mix who lives with Christina Hunger, a speech-language pathologist. Christina taught Stella all the standard tricks, but when Stella learned to speak, they went a bit farther than just barking. Christina built a soundboard with buttons that play audio recordings of 29 different words. The words include “outside,” “look,” “ball,” and, Stella’s favorite word, “park.” Using this soundboard, Christina has been able to teach Stella how to “talk” to humans.
Christina started the Instagram account @hunger4words to document Stella’s progress. In November 2019, she uploaded a video that showed Stella reacting to a strange sound outside. At first Stella started barking. When that didn’t work, she went to her board. In the video, Stella pressed “outside,” followed by the “look” button nine times, before pressing “come” and “outside.”
Photo by Christina Hunger
The Instagram account is full of videos that show Stella’s growing “conversations.” Check
Stella communicates by pressing the right buttons on the soundboard. For example, if she wants to go outside, Stella goes to her board and presses “outside.” We’d probably press that button a lot ourselves. Christina has been teaching Stella to talk for almost two years by using the same techniques humans use with their children — a lot of time, repetition, and
it out if you want to see some amazing dog tricks. Izzy & EmmaPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
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