Thursday, October 11, 2007
A common occurrence is now a concern

By Anthony Policastro, M.D.

In the 1950's Drs. Hertig and Rock did a study on pregnancy. They followed thousands of women over a period of years. Their findings were surprising. They found that for every 100 conceptions, 75% did not implant. They were washed out with the next pregnancy. Sometimes, there was just a normal period. Sometimes the period was a few days late. In either case all that the woman knew was that she had her period that month. The remaining 25% did go on to pregnancy. Of those about 1 out of 5 would end in an early miscarriage. Thus pregnancy was the exception rather than the rule. In the 1950's, it did not matter most of the time. Women were told to see their physicians two weeks after a missed period to get a pregnancy test. The 75% that ended earlier than that would never result in a visit to the obstetrician. No one would ever know that there was a very early miscarriage. Times have changed. The first change is the ability to do a home pregnancy test. This allowed the woman to check for pregnancy at home before making the appointment with the obstetrician. The test was usually done at about the two week point because it was not sensitive enough to be positive prior to that. The second change had to do with the fact that pregnancy tests have become more and more sensitive. They can pick up evidence of pregnancy at a very early stage. They can be positive within a few days of a missed period. The result is that women who are only a few days late are able to check for pregnancy. If they are positive, they may still be one of the 75% who have an early miscarriage. This creates a significant issue. In the old days, if you had an early miscarriage, you just thought your period was late. Now however, you may get a positive pregnancy test before the early miscarriage. The result is very different psychologically. We go from nothing more than a late period to a lost pregnancy. Such a loss creates the usual psychological dealing with loss. The process includes denial, anger, bargaining, mourning and acceptance. Most women go through the process quickly. They handle the grieving and move on. However, others will have the kinds of psychological difficulties that are common with other kinds of losses. The result may be depression. It may be anxiety. There may be other symptoms. Current home pregnancy testing can be a good thing. However, it might lead to too much information too early in a pregnancy that will not survive. With 75% of pregnancies ending like this, it is a lot more common than many people think.

Red Balloon Hoedown
The Wellness Community-Delaware is celebrating its growth in Sussex County with a hoedown. Kick up your heels to country music favorites with Brian K. Hall of the CAT Country morning DJ team. The Red Balloon Hoedown will be held Friday, Oct. 19, from 7-11 p.m. at the Baycenter in Dewey Beach. Event sponsors include Delmarva Broadcasting, Cape Gazette and the Tunnell Cancer Center. The event is an opportunity to pay tribute to people in Sussex County whose lives have been touched by cancer. This year, caregivers will also be honored. Tickets are $50 per person and include a tribute balloon that will be displayed at the event. "All of the programs at The Wellness Community are offered at no charge, so the Red Balloon Hoedown is an important fundraiser for us," said Suzanne Landon, Event chair. Landon, a breast cancer survivor, emphasized that there is a tremendous need in Sussex County for the cancer support services provided by The Wellness Community - Delaware. "Through on-site program participation and community outreach efforts, we have had an average of 600 contacts each month since relocating to our new facility on Rt. 24," said Landon. The Wellness Community-Delaware is seeking additional sponsors for the Red Balloon Hoedown. Sponsors play an intricate role in allowing The Wellness Community-Delaware to continue to provide vital support programs for people in Sussex County touched by cancer. For more information on sponsorships or to purchase tickets, contact Barbara Smith or Jo Wilkins by calling The Wellness Community at (302) 645-9150. Tickets may also be purchased online at All proceeds from the event will fund support programs for people with cancer and their families in Sussex County.

Stroke support group
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer free monthly Stroke Support Group meetings designed for individuals who have survived a stroke and their families and caregivers. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and networking. Refreshments will be provided. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, cccupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 5121.

Nanticoke offers flu shots
It's time to get a flu shot. Influenza is a serious disease that affects many people, including the elderly and those with serious, long-term health problems. Nanticoke Occupational Health will be offering flue shots to the public on Oct. 16, 19, 24 and 26, located at the Nanticoke Mears Health Campus (across from the Seaford Post Office). The cost of the vaccination is $10. The vaccine is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. Pre-scheduled appointments are required. The influenza vaccine is recommended for elderly and high-risk individuals. Healthy working adults may also benefit from the influenza vaccine. Large outbreaks of influenza usually do not occur before December in the USA and reach a peak between late December and early March and many continue into the spring. The duration of protection conferred by influenza vaccine generally begins one to two weeks after injection and may last six months or longer. For more information contact Nanticoke Occupational Health at 629-6611, ext. 2505. Pre-registration is required.

Delaware Tech job seminar
Learn invaluable information to help you prepare for a community disaster during an upcoming one-day seminar at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, Georgetown. The seminar is designed to improve participants' knowledge on disaster planning and management for both professional and home life. Topics of discussion will include community and state resources for disaster preparedness, as well as an overview of hospital preparedness for health care providers, an update on bioterrorism, and the psychological impact and needed interventions for those involved. Scheduled for Oct. 18, the day will begin with a job fair from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., followed by the seminar from 9:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. The day is co-sponsored by the Delaware Tech nursing department and the college's Corporate and Community Programs division. For more information, call CCP at 302-854-6966.

CNA Recognition Day
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) from all over Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore will gather at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, on Oct. 19 for the 11th Annual CNA Recognition Day and the presentation of the 2007 CNA of the Year Award. The theme for this year's celebration is "Certified Nursing Assistants: Angels Among Us." The event, co-sponsored with local hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies, will include workshops, exhibits, networking opportunities, and door prizes. Participants can also earn nursing contact hours and continuing education credits for attendance. The keynote speaker is Crystal Mehrenberg, MSC, an investigative analyst in the Office of Long-Term Care Residents' Protection. She holds a master's degree in counseling from Wilmington College and has worked with abused children and the elderly since 1993. In her current role, she conducts investigations into abuse and conducts criminal background checks. The $37 registration fee includes handouts, lunch, and refreshments; those with special dietary needs should call Lori Westcott at 855-5988. For more information, or to register, contact Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966.