DrugStars App Review

With so many health apps on the market right now, it is difficult to discern which way is up at times. Break your search down further into apps for tracking your medications and you are going to bombarded with a plethora of options. What if one application could make medication compliance something that we all looked forward too?

It just so happens that there is an app that is breaking into the US market. It already exists in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, but the states represent a new potential for consumer base growth. Okay, I’ll stop with the lingering on and dragging things out. Onto the good stuff!

DrugStars is an app that truly adds incentive into your daily medication routine. For each medication you take, you receive a star. One star equals one cent. For every fifty stars that you earn, it makes you eligible to make a donation to the patient organization of your choice. So, you’re sitting here thinking, “when are we getting to the, what’s in it for me portion?” Here it is…each time that you donate fifty stars, you will be placed into a monthly raffle for health-related gift cards. These are recognized at many locations.

Fifty stars may seem like a lot, but considering that you get one star per day for each medication that you take as needed, in addition to a star for each of your scheduled medications. Then the deal starts to sweeten a little bit. This app also includes the ability  to review each of your medications–the result fifty stars per medication!

Adding the additional feature of being able to receive clinical trial information and newsletters makes this the perfect app for any of us who are on medications. Patient organizations can also team up to receive donations. This app all around seems to satisfy the needs of a multitude of populations.

Apple users and GooglePlay store users are in luck. There is a version for both stores…here are the links. Also feel free to go to for more information.





A Dose of Holiday Magic or Something

I’m sitting here thinking that it doesn’t feel even a little bit like Christmas. Maybe it has something to do with a total lack of energy and feeling like I got hit by a bus. Maybe it’s because there doesn’t seem like there has been a lot of joy lately. As my autonomic symptoms have been ramping up, so have the falls. Two major falls in two months. I’m a little nervous to be alone just because I’m afraid of falling now.

It’s amazing how our illnesses can make our world seem so small. We visited some family yesterday, which was wonderful. But I was tired enough that I made it through dinner and had to go lay down. At the very minimum it was a change of scenery. We can be just as miserable somewhere else as we can at our own house…we just have to change our clothes and look a little more presentable.

While it should be a joyous occasion watching young children open their presents, for me it’s an entirely different feeling. Sitting and watching, makes my heart ache for what I know we will never be able to have. My disease has affected every aspect of my being. There are days that I can hardly take care of myself, let alone our two dogs. But the one thing that my husband and I wanted the most in the world, is the one thing that I am unable to give; a child. Even an adopted child would be too much to handle and it breaks my heart. But, I reflect back to when I was young and have sweet, resounding memories…

The rule was that I couldn’t go see what Santa brought me until the sun came up. At the time, it felt like an eternity from waking up at midnight until 7 am. Then my mom let me race into look at what was in my stocking. The true innocence of childhood.

There are also joyous memories of Christmas while we’ve been married. Saturday is our 11 year anniversary already! Memories are something that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.

I actually had part of this blog written a couple of weeks ago and as I’m sitting here reading through it, there is a smile that crept onto my face. This is the magic of Christmas.

Our very first Christmas tree we put up also happened to coincide with having two brand new kittens…sisters at that! Every single day, we would come home from work and the tree would be shaking just a little bit. Upon closer inspection, there were two tiny kittens sitting in the tree. There also would be a pile of lights next to the tree and a new selection of ornaments handily removed by our new pets. This happened every single day. Every few months for at least two years, we  would find a tiny ornament that had escaped our frantic search when we put the tree away.

Two years ago was when we decided we were brave enough to put the tree back up. By then we had a beagle as well. We did a good job “cat-proofing” our tree. None of our treasured ornaments went up. We did a trial

We have several rules/traditions at our house for Christmas.  1) Sugar cookies in large quantities are a must, if you don’t have a sugar high when you go to bed, then you haven’t had enough!  2) EVERYBODY believes in Santa.  3) Watching “A Christmas Story” is mandated.  It must be watched at least twice during the holiday season.  4) “The Polar Express” is read aloud on Christmas eve.

I will be the first to admit that I thought “A Christmas Story” was annoying.  You can only listen to, “you’re gonna shoot your eye out kid,” a few times before you want to pull your hair out.  The leg lamp too…don’t get me started.  This was my opinion until I met my husband!

Since we’ve been married, I now love listening to the giggles when the kid gets his tongue stuck to the flag pole. My husband still REALLY wants to get an inflatable leg lamp for our front yard. I think you know who won that argument!

Perspectives change and lessons are learned.  I had never even heard of “The Polar Express” until the movie came out.  Now, the songs are memorized and the book is read aloud at least once a year.  If you can’t act like a kid during the holidays, then something is the matter.

Although nobody in this house is getting an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle, we have plenty of fun to go around.  It’s the tradition and warm fuzzy feelings that make it our favorite time of year.

No matter what is going on in our lives at this moment, make sure to let Christmas rest in your hearts. Take in the magic that comes with it. Even if you aren’t in the mood, we only have these moments once a year. Time isn’t something to be taken for granted. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away

Here we’re as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas nowchristmas magic


clinical trials, Healthcare

Nursing Ethics and Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are essential to furthering the treatment of diseases. Many patients view participation in them as a “last-ditch” effort. They feel like they have exhausted all options.

This is one of the myths about clinical trials. They aren’t reserved until everything else is exhausted. Always feel free to ask your healthcare provider if there are any trials that you may qualify for.

Here is where things can get a little tricky. Suppose that you are a nurse working in the hospital and have a patient that you think should be introduced to trials. This is a large, teaching hospital that frequently recruits from among the inpatient population. Is it your job to bring up the topic? There are three key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Among all else, it is imperative to know what the facility policies are regarding situations like these.
  2. Every hospital is supposed to have an Ethics Committee and they should be easily accessible for questions.
  3. There is no straight answer to this example and no two answers will ever be the same. Each nurse may view this topic completely differently

In addition to clinical trials…

Current ethical hot topics in nursing include assisting in abortions, flu-shot requirements for nurses and end-of-life issues. Nurses should be familiar with the ethics of the nursing profession, but also be comfortable with their own ethical code. Nurses who can find agreement between personal and professional ethics will be most successful at maintaining their integrity and moral character. Nurses who are comfortable with their morals and let ethics guide their decisions will be well equipped to provide patient care.

It is also essential to know what the “Theory of Caring” is. Yes; caring. You probably are rolling your eyes right now, but knowing what caring actually is, will determine how you interact with your patients and a refresher may actually be good for all of us.

Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring makes seven assumptions:

(1) Caring can be effectively demonstrated and practiced only interpersonally. (2) Caring consists of carative factors that result in the satisfaction of certain human needs. (3) Effective caring promotes health and individual or family growth. (4) Caring responses accept the patient as he or she is now, as well as what he or she may become. (5) A caring environment is one that offers the development of potential while allowing the patient to choose the best action for him or herself at a given point in time. (6) A science of caring is complementary to the science of curing. (7) The practice of caring is central to nursing.

You are probably wondering why I shared this. Look at the fifth assumption closer; “allowing the patient to choose the best action for him or herself at a given point in time.” The patient has a large degree of autonomy and that needs to be acknowledged. Ultimately any participation in a clinical trial is up to the patient.

Generally it is a physician bringing up the topic, but in my eyes, I wouldn’t be afraid to broach the subject. Casually mentioning that there are always a multitude of trials for conditions, isn’t going to end your career. Trust your gut, but most of all…care for your patient.

If you are a nurse who is working as part of a clinical trial, then you have additional demands. Your first priority is always going to be the patient, but there is also the importance of maintaining a boundary between the clinical study. Your responsibility is to collect the data, administer medications and adhere to the specific role that is delineated in the clinical study protocol.

Clinical trials from the nursing aspect are so much more than just an opportunity for learning about a disease and treatment for patients. Multiple ethical standards apply, no matter what the role is. These must always be adhered to along with the regulations from your State Board of Nursing.

nursing ethics