Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cook Up a Safe Summer!

It’s finally summer! After months of eating in the kitchen, most of us are eager for a change of scenery. But before you head for the beach or the back deck, here are a few things you should know about summer food safety.

Food poisoning can be caused by various bacteria. The most common is salmonella, a type of bacteria found in foods of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk. Symptoms of salmonella infection—diarrhea, chills, fever and headache—usually last three to five days, but sometimes the infection is deadly.

Staphylococcus aureus is another type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Usually, it’s spread when someone has an open wound that comes into contact with food he or she is preparing. The bacteria can multiply quickly, especially in foods with mayonnaise or cream bases left at room temperature. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which last about 12 hours.

An infection caused by clostridium perfringens produces symptoms that include abdominal pain and diarrhea. This type of germ multiplies when cooked meat is left to cool slowly to room temperature over 12 to 14 hours.

Grill guidelines

Follow these tips from the International Food Information Council Foundation to make sure food poisoning doesn’t spoil your summer fun:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw fish, meat or poultry—or any utensils used to handle those foods.
  • Marinate raw fish, meat or poultry in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Use a glass dish rather than a plastic one for marinating. (Plastic is more likely to retain bacteria.)
  • Don’t precook food too far in advance. Food should be transferred immediately from the microwave or range to the grill. Another option: Cook the food completely ahead of time and use the grill to warm it up when you’re ready to eat.
  •  Don’t serve cooked food on a plate used to carry raw meat, poultry or fish to the grill.
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My First Triathlon part 4: Rodney’s Perspective

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system. Rodney, our “Garner Ironman,” is helping first-time triathlete-in-training, Theresa, achieve her goal of completing our July 14th Sprint Triathlon. Follow Rodney and Theresa’s journey through their blog posts over the next few months.

Here we are on week 8 and Theresa’s training is coming along very well. When we started training, Theresa thought that this journey would only involve running, cycling and swimming. That has hardly been the case.

On June 2, Theresa found herself at Jordan Lake at 5:30 a.m. to help work the Raleigh Ironman 70.3. I signed up as a captain for the body marking team months ago, and from that day forward, I was constantly recruiting volunteers which included my wife and several friends and neighbors. I knew this would be a great opportunity for Theresa to see what a half-iron distance race was like and to also see the importance of volunteering.

As athletes, we need to do more than participate – we need to give back! Once we arrived and I was able to organize my 38 volunteers, we went to work and Theresa was up for the challenge. With sharpies in hand, we marked well over 3,000 triathletes. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the process, the athlete’s race number is marked diagonally on the upper right and left arms. The age of the athlete is usually written on the left calf and every swimmer must be marked.

Theresa and Rodney’s Wife Angela during the Holly Springs Two Town Tri.

The following weekend, we were volunteering at the inaugural Two Town Tri in Holly Springs. I was one of the race organizers so I put Theresa to work in the swim area. My wife Angie was a participant and our friend and training partner James was there too. Since all three of us are triathletes, we were able to walk Theresa through the entire triathlon event. She saw firsthand how Angie set up her bike for transition 1 and 2 by strategically placing her bike shoes, helmet, glasses and gloves in one area and her running equipment such as shoes, socks, gels and cap in another area.

After witnessing two triathlons, it was time for Theresa’s first mock triathlon, AKA “brick.” We swam 300 yards in the pool, ran outside into our transition area (the Rex Bike rack), jumped on our bikes then ran. She did great. We needed to get this done this week because next week I depart for Europe for my annual journey with high school students. Am I concerned that Theresa will fall off the wagon while I am gone? Not at all. She is so determined to succeed and her Rex Support group will continue to support her.

Theresa and new friend and trainee James Boyle

Lastly, there is one more thing that Theresa likely did not count on – forming friendships with her teammates. When you train together, a true bond forms and I am so glad that Theresa has become my friend. Not just my new friend but she has become a friend of Angie, James, Shannon, Ron, Jim and the list goes on. We have created a bond because of the Garner Rex Wellness Triathlon. July 14th can’t get here soon enough!

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Chesson Hadley’s Pre-Golf Rituals

Post by Chesson Hadley, winner of the 2013 Rex Hospital Open. After becoming a three-time All-American at Georgia Tech, Chesson became a professional golfer in 2010. He played on the eGolf Tour for 2 years before making it to the Tour during 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School. With his win at the Rex Hospital Open, Chesson earned his card to the 2014 PGA Tour. He lives in Raleigh with his wife Amanda, and they are expecting their first child in Fall 2013.

After winning the Rex Hospital Open last week, people have asked me what my “secret formula” is. Do I eat something special? Do I have a specific stretching routine? Am I superstitious?

The answer to all of these is no. I’m 25 years old and have been blessed genetically with a lightning fast metabolism and the flexibility of a gymnast. While everyone has told me this will change as I get older, for now I eat whatever I want (which is usually fast food) and don’t make the gym a regular routine. However, there are a few things I do to prepare for a tournament round that are key to good performance.

Get plenty of sleep

I don’t stay up late the night before a round. If I have a 7am tee time, I know I’ll be up around 5 so I go to bed pretty early. You can’t expect to perform at your peak if your body doesn’t have time to rest and restore itself. This is especially key for endurance. Tournaments are 4 days long, and each course is about 5 miles to walk. Add in the 95 degree summer heat and trying to mentally stay focused for 5 hours straight and you can easily see why it’s important to get a lot of rest.

Give myself plenty of time

I hate feeling rushed before a round. My pre-round routine is an hour long, so I get to the course 1 hour and 45 min before my tee time. This gives me time to eat at player dining, go hang out in the locker room, and just get myself geared up to go. It’s really hard to start something calmly if everything was chaotic beforehand.

Stay hydrated and nourished

Although I’m certainly not pounding spinach smoothies and eating raw almonds, I know how important staying hydrated and fed is. I drink a ton of water on the course and keep bananas and granola bars in my bag. Golf is such a mental game and I think the first thing you lose when you’re hungry is your mental stamina.

Be prepared

I check the weather and wind conditions before a round so I know what to expect and how to dress. Once I’m out on the course, I’m there until the completion of a round. If I’ve forgotten anything, I’m stuck. Therefore, I make sure to have everything I could POSSIBLY need. If there’s a chance of rain, my golf umbrella is going in the bag. I keep a bunch of extra gloves, towels, granola bars, sunscreen, etc. so that no matter what goes on, I’m prepared for it.

Get in the zone

For the 4-5 hours of my golf round, I can’t afford to think about anything else. I’m not thinking about my plans later in the day, what’s going on at home, paying attention to the crowd, etc. I’ve got to stay as focused on each shot as possible in order to execute.

* * *

While these things have helped me to be successful in golf, I really think they apply to anyone who needs to perform well. Whether it’s a job presentation, a recital, or a big exam, being rested, nourished, prepared and “in the zone” will help you perform at your peak!


Chesson Hadley

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Vicky’s Story Part 3: The Catalyst

Post by Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker. Vicky had bariatric surgery 5 and half years ago, and is writing about her journey through this blog series in order to share her struggles and triumphs on her path to good health.

Vicky in December 2004

One day I was sitting at home watching daytime television when the Rex on Call TV show came on and the topic that day just happened to be Weight Loss options at Rex Healthcare! It was an interview with one of our surgeons who explained Bariatric and Lap band surgeries and how they could help someone looking to lose a lot of weight. That was me. I sat there enthralled and totally thinking they were talking directly to me. I didn’t act on it right away, even though I wanted to because I was unemployed at that juncture of my life, but I tucked the thought away in the back of my mind.

Several months after beginning my career here at Rex, I thought again about the interview with the surgeon when I saw an advertisement regarding an information session being held in the hospital, and invited my husband to come and join me.

Vicky and her husband Steve

The meeting was incredibly informative and they answered the questions we had-  thus began my weight loss surgery journey. My husband was so excited about the possibilities as well, excited that I could actually be healthy. Just thinking of all the diseases and complications I could face from carrying around so much excess weight was scary.

I was already being treated for high blood pressure and was on medication for that. I suffered from acid reflux and would often wake up with my throat burning and not able to breathe. In addition I had sleep apnea and had to wear that “Darth Vader” like contraption to keep my throat open so I could breathe. I had terrible pains in my knees and in my lower back, and my feet often hurt from carrying too much weight. That is just the short list of some of the issues I faced daily from being over 300 lbs.

I loved the meeting because everything you had to do was laid out and explained from day 1. I understood the need to see a variety of doctors during the pre-surgery phase, the need to gather information from my family doctor justifying why I needed the surgery, documenting what I had done in the past to try to lose the weight.

4 of Vicky and Steve’s 5 granddaughters

I actually could envision increasing my odds of getting to spend more time with my family, and in particular, with my granddaughters. This picture of 4 of our 5 granddaughters is the major catalyst for clinching my decision to have the surgery. I wanted to be around to watch them mature as they blossomed into beautiful young women!

That thought, the TV show and the initial orientation meeting were the catalysts I needed to get me moving toward my goal.

I actually think I let out a sigh when I left the meetings because I finally felt like I was making the right decision toward a healthier lifestyle.

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My First Sprint Triathlon: Part Three

Post by Theresa, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her first half-marathon about six months ago! Her next goal is to compete in Garner’s Inaugural Sprint Triathlon on July 14th, with the guidance of Rodney Jenkins, our “Garner Ironman”. Theresa is blogging about her experiences as a first-time triathlete-in-training to hopefully inspire others to try it! When she has time off from work and isn’t at Rex Wellness Center, Theresa likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends.

As of this post, I am about five weeks into the training program. Over the past five weeks, I’ve gotten to know my trainer Rodney better. Before this program I really didn’t know Rodney as much as I just knew of him. Rodney always responds if I have a question or concern and if I don’t see him for several days he will email or call and check up on me. I have also gotten to know his wife Angie and they are both great to work with!

Theresa on the indoor track at Rex Wellness of Garner

As expected, the intensity level has started to pick up a bit. The swims, bike rides, and runs are all getting longer. I am still working on my swimming technique but I know with more practice it will continue to improve. I feel like I am more relaxed and confident in the water than I have ever been. The more I get in the pool, the more I want to get back in and swim again another day. Rodney showed me how to push off and change lanes as well as other things to expect in the pool on the day of the event. Angie has helped me with things like what to wear on race day.

I’m about as new to cycling as I am to swimming so I’ve really got my work cut out for me, but I’m up for the challenge! There are a lot of avid cyclists at the wellness center and I have sought advice from many of them. I have been on a bike rides with some of my fellow members, Ron and Shannon. Shannon even rode his bike in the rain with me one Sunday! We have done a lot of hill work and I have been on some trailways for my shorter rides during the week. I believe Shannon was hand-picked by Rodney to wear me out on those hills and he does a good job!

I’ve had the opportunity to go on a few early morning runs with Rodney and Angie from their home since they live fairly close to me. I’ve never really been accustomed to running with other people (especially of their caliber) so the thought of it made me a little nervous at first. They made me feel comfortable and ran at my pace. I have a feeling if I were to run with them many more times my pace might just improve a little bit, and that would be a good thing!

This weekend Angie and I are running a 5K in Fuquay Varina. I’ve only done one 5k and it was over a year ago so it will be fun to do another in preparation for the triathlon. Hopefully in the next month I will be Tri ready!

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Vicky’s Story Part 2: Fears and Phobias

Post by Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker. Vicky had bariatric surgery 5 and half years ago, and is writing about her journey through this blog series in order to share her struggles and triumphs on her path to good health.

Living life as a very large person can be quite daunting. I was afraid of many things, including how I was being perceived by my friends, family, and even people I didn’t know.

So many questions ran through my head: could I get a job in a healthcare setting, and would I even make it through the interview process when I was so big? Were my granddaughters and other family members embarrassed to be with me? Was my husband, Steve, embarrassed to go out to dinner with me? Would I be able to get that seat belt fastened around me on a plane? Could I use the handicapped stall, without getting in the way of a handicapped person?

When I took the first step and interviewed with one of the surgeons associated with Rex Healthcare’s Bariatric Center, I had new worries and phobias: should I tell my family what I am considering? Are they going to try to talk me out of it? Will I even be a candidate for the surgery? I had tried so many programs and plans before that would supposedly help me to lose the weight, but none had worked.

Vicky, pre-weight loss surgery

My biggest concern was if everything would work out- after all, it is a major surgery. What would happen if something went wrong? I knew I was going to become primary caregiver for my mom because of her Parkinson’s and Dementia. The absolute scariest thought was hearing my mom’s voice over and over again telling me about a friend she knew who had this surgery and that it did not go well. I did not tell her my intentions until about 3 months after I had the Bariatric Bypass procedure!

If I did take a chance and go through with it, what if this was just another solution that did not work for me? How long would it take me to lose the weight? How would I still dress appropriately for work while losing a lot of weight- another expense to consider. Wow, I’m making myself tired just remembering all of the concerns, phobias, and thoughts I had to work out in my mind!

Despite all of  my many worries, I decided to get the surgery. I had to push those fears aside and look at the root of the matter- my health and my future- and knew this was what I had to do. Having made the decision, the next daunting task was accomplishing all of the pre-surgery steps! But that’s for another discussion. Thank goodness I had the support of my wonderful husband reassuring me along the way.

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