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  • Kid’s Corner -

    Are You Allergic to Peanut Butter?

    Mom’s Corner -

  • Taking care of your aging parent

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Taking care of your aging parent as a family

  • Planet Earth -

    Close Call for the Planet Earth

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Watch Your Finances for the Holidays


          Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for November-December 2011

    I work for the Government and these two months contain the most holidays of the year…which means the most days off from work which is a mixed blessing. Yes, I’m off from work, but the work is still there. Waiting for me…Just waiting for me…Enough paranoia.

Because this is the holiday season, I think it is important to recognize how stressful it can be to have an aged or ill family member who requires caretaking. We often forget how much energy, time and money it takes to care for a family member. The main theme of this month’s newsletter is to raise awareness about this issue.

November is National Peanut Butter Lovers month, and if you, or your child, have an allergy to peanuts you know how hard it is to find foods that are safe to eat. I’ve written a section especially for kids about peanut allergies.

Lastly, we are going to talk about managing your money so you can survive the holidays without going so far in debt that you feel there is NO WAY you can ever get out of debt.

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Are You Allergic to Peanut Butter?

Did you know that one out of one hundred kids and adults in the United States are allergic to peanuts and peanut butter? If you have a peanut allergy and eat peanuts you can have a serious reaction with difficulty breathing, itchiness and a rash. Your body thinks peanuts are harmful and your immune system will aggressively attack the peanuts. If you are allergic to peanuts and eat even a BITE of a food that contains peanut, you can have a serious reaction, and peanuts are in THOUSANDS of processed foods.

Symptoms of peanut allergy can range from mild to life-threatening. If you have a mild reaction, you may get a stomachache, a runny nose, an itchy skin rash, hives, or tingling in your lips or tongue. If your reaction is worse, you may get a tight throat, hoarse voice, wheezing, coughing, feel really sick to your stomach and vomit.

For a really serious reaction you can’t breath and an emergency injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) along with a trip to the emergency room are necessary. If your doctor thinks you may be at risk of a severe reaction, you'll probably need to carry an EPIPEN with you at all times. If you are in school they can keep the pen for you, but even if you don’t have to carry an EPIPEN it’s really important you tell the school about your allergy.


  • Food allergies can cause itching and bumps on your skin; wheezing, or other breathing problems, and stomachaches or vomiting. These symptoms start within a minute of eating the food.
  • You doctor can do a blood tests to make sure you really have a food allergy.
  • If you go to a restaurant, ASK if the foods you order contain peanuts. Peanut oil used to be used in a lot for frying foods.


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MOM’S CORNER                          

Taking care of your aging parent

Millions of Americans care for elderly parents and in most families, women provide the majority of care. It's estimated that 34 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for other adults, usually elderly relatives, and that they spend an average 21 hours a week helping out. Millions more grown children are calling almost every day, flying into town every few weeks or months or just stopping by to take Mom or Dad to the doctor. When my mother was terminally ill, the burden of caring for her fell upon my sister, and I would fly back and forth between my home in the Washington, D.C. to Louisville, KY almost every weekend.

Being a caregiver can be a HUGE expense. If you are working outside the home and also trying to be a caregiver you probably have had to cut your hours at work. This immediately reduces your take home pay and can also cause you to lose your healthcare benefits, which usually are worth about $8,000 a year. Besides the financial toll, the physical toll can be severe, too. Many caregivers develop chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, and depression because of the huge amount of stress they deal with on a daily basis. For example, how do you tell your aging father, who’s had multiple accidents that he can’t drive anymore? In America, if you can’t drive you immediately lose your independence.

Taking care of your aging parent will also certainly cause you to argue with your brothers and sister, spouse, parents, yourself and your cat or dog. It’s important that you sit down with your parents, and if possible with your siblings, at the earliest signs of increased weakness or illness to set up a plan for shared responsibility for driving, paying bills, what to do in case of emergency hospitalizations, and things we don’t like to talk about such as a living will, or do not resuscitate orders.

Be willing to accept help from others. Caregiving is a big job and even the strongest and best intentioned of us cannot do it alone. Think about signing up for community services (meal delivery, homemaker programs, adult daycare, in-home health care, etc.). Ask relatives to help and see if neighbors or your parent's friends might take on some small tasks such as watching over your parent’s house to be sure there is activity and/or lights when there should be.

              It’s important to take time for yourself. Find someone who can step in for you or see if there aren't respite services in your parent's community. Your parent will survive and you will be a better caregiver. Having social supports (friends, family, support groups) will give you a break and you’ll be a much more effective caregiver. Most of all, have time to laugh. Laughing will actually make your immune system stronger so you won’t be sick as much.


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Keeping Your Family Healthy While Taking care of your aging parent

We just talked about how the role of caregiving usually falls upon the daughter of the aging parent. Because of the increased stress and commitment of time and money, it is common for the stress and burden to put stress on you and your spouse's relationship. Here are some tips for ensuring your relationships continues to grow and strengthen while at the same time you are helping to care for an aging parents:


1. Don't hold feelings inside until they explode!

Many of us try to “stuff” our feelings inside rather than to talk about them with your wife. But when these feelings are bottled up for too long, things WILL explode. Try to verbalize feelings when you experience them.

2. No topic is off limits
Married couples must be able to talk about everything. All subjects are fair game —the good, the bad and the ugly. Hurt feelings can heal, if you give them time.

3. Listen
Don't do all the talking. Really listen to what your spouse is saying. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak.

4. Share Blame as appropriate
It is common during stressful times to blame the one you love. Someone has to take care of aging parents and the job fell on you and your family. I always use a “blame pie.” You never own ALL the pie, just a portion of it.

5. Teamwork
Making a family work is clearly difficult even in the best of times, and even more challenging when you are the caregiver for an aging parent. If the kids are old enough to do chores, share the wealth.

6. Give each other space
Take time to be alone with your thoughts and refresh your spirit. If you can't take the time to leave the house for your alone time, find your own space within the home. You have to belong to yourself before you can belong to others.

7. Build a network
You and your spouse do not have to do it all yourself. Get your children involved. Solicit support from siblings, aunts and uncles. Seek support from your neighbors. You can't do it alone.

8. Stay healthy
Health and well-being are crucial when caring for an elderly parent. Exercise as often as you can, eat healthy and take your vitamins! And don't forget your annual physical exams. You can't effectively take care of others if you don't take of yourself.

If  you work together as a family, helping to care for the many needs of the elderly parent, families will have the joy and pleasure of knowing that their efforts were greatly appreciated by the aging parent or grandparent.

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                                   Close Call for the Planet Earth

On November 8 2011 “2005 YU55″, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier, traveling at the speed of  forty thousand miles per hour, came within 202,000 miles of hitting the Planet Earth. This is closer to the Earth than the orbit of the Moon, and would have caused a catastrophic loss of life should it have hit the Earth’s surface. This was the closest encounter with a large asteroid that the Earth has experienced since a similar event took place in 1976.  Earth has already been hit by asteroids many times throughout history-the most famous being the asteroid or comet that created the Chicxulub (say this word real fast) crater in the Gulf of Mexico and may have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. In 1908 a meteor, comet or alien space ship (yes there are aliens), exploded over the wilderness of Siberia (the Tunguska event) damaged farmland and leveled trees for miles around.

There are probably many small impacts that go unnoticed because the asteroids land in the ocean. It is likely that our planet will be hit by another asteroid or meteor because there are so many asteriods in space. Luckily, based upon the past impacts, we can predict that one large asteroid will impact Earth only every 100 million years. Astronomers constantly analyze newly discovered asteroids to determine whether its orbit around the sun could bring it close to the Earth. Careful computer simulations are used to calculate the future orbital path of the asteroid to estimate whether or not it might pose a risk to the earth.

There are many disaster movies that use the probable impact of a meteor or asteroid as the basis of the movie. Several that come to mind are “When Worlds Collide” and “Deep Impact.” The movies are interesting to watch because they usually focus on a few families and we follow the throughout their journey of fear.

              The one question I have for you to consider is “if you knew a meteor was going to impact the earth tomorrow…what would you do?” You might be surprised to see how quickly your priorities change when you are facing the end of the world.

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Watch Your Finances for the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a fun time for family and friends to spend some time together. The pressure to spend more than you can afford is higher during the holiday season and leads many people to use their credit cards to finance gifts for others. But the holidays can result in huge credit card debt that can take months or YEARS to pay off. By learning a few simple tricks you can avoid adding on to your credit card debt this holiday season.

Make Cuts To Your Family Gift List – you don’t have to give gifts to all of your family. You might be surprised by how quickly people will agree not to give reciprocal gifts so they can save money too!

Set Spending Limits This Year –My wife and I set a spending limit for the holidays and all of the gifts we give. If you don’t set a spending limit the impulse buys will kill you because everywhere you look there are special holiday deals.

Make a budget and stick to it-Write-down all the people for whom you are planning to buy presents. Then write-down how much money you are going to spend on each one of them. That is your budget. Once you have your budget, STICK TO IT. Wandering off the budget path is the most surefire way to find yourself dipping into your credit cards to finance gifts. Your goal this holiday season is not to go into debt in order to finance gifts for your friends and family.

Leave your credit cards at home Make purchases only with cash-Leave your credit cards at home while you shop for holiday gifts. It’s been clearly shown that people will spend more money if they use a credit card instead of paying cash.  One of the more famous financial programs ALWAYS has you pay cash. At the start of the month you divide your money up and place it in envelopes that you take with you to a store. Don’t take your credit cards to the store if you are going to be tempted. One program says to have only ONE credit card, and it should be frozen in a block of ice in the freezer so you REALLY have to work to use it.

Start saving for next year now-The first step to avoiding credit card debt this holiday season is to start saving for purchases now. Whether you open up a savings account at your bank or grab an envelope or shoebox that can serve as your own personal savings account, start setting aside money each week or each paycheck. Saving even $1.00 or $2.00 a week will let you buy at least one or two nice presents and I promise that you won’t miss that money.

Have a safe and happy Holiday Season, from our family to yours

Wherever they may be

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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

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You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


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