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  • Kindness is the best medicine

    Joanie Holm RN CNP|Jun 5, 2024

    My name is Joanie Holm. I am a certified nurse practitioner in Brookings, South Dakota, and I am the person fortunate to have been the life partner of the original Prairie Doc, Richard P. Holm, M.D. Rick and I were married for 40 years before his passing in March 2020. During those wonderful decades together, if I could point to one powerful action that strengthened our relationship with each other, with our family, our community and with our patients, it would be the act of kindness....

  • Out My Kitchen Window

    Bev Wieler|May 29, 2024

    We've all heard it, April showers bring May flowers. For Nebraskans it's May showers that have helped kick in the May flowers and we hope this just continues. We sure don't want more storms. We've lucked out where I live that iris stems stand tall and the winds haven't caused any damage. Others haven't been so fortunate. I guess that is why when a flower bud opens, we better enjoy the show. I look out my kitchen window and realize what a blessing it is to be able to view the flowers. Not only...

  • Early intervention

    Joanie Holm RN CNP|May 29, 2024

    It has been a few years since my children were babies. Having spent my youth as a babysitter and a career in pediatrics, I was pretty comfortable in watching the developmental of babies, toddlers and young children. (Teenagers are another story for another day.) That isn't always the case for young parents who may not have experience with this age group. Babies develop in a somewhat predictable fashion. As you think of a newborn, you might think of the poor neck control which changes drastically...

  • Grief: There is no prescription

    Amanda Kriens CCHW|May 22, 2024

    As unique is our loss is as unique is our grief. What do we do when one day we can smile, laugh and look back at memories with fondness and thankfulness for the life we shared with our loved one; the next day we feel paralyzed by our pain and sadness? We feel broken and feel as though we may never be our "old self" again? We may not like the answer ... we feel what we feel. There is no twelve steps, timeline or prescription for our grief. New research supports that as unique as we are as...

  • Telegraph, telephone, telemedicine

    Jill Kruse D.O., Praire Doc|May 15, 2024

    Technology has come a long way in the past 200 years. The telegraph was invented in 1837 and made rapid long range communication possible. Messages could be sent around the world through a series of connected wires. The telegraph had medical applications in the Civil War. It was used to order medical supplies and report information about injuries and casualties to medical teams. This was cutting edge technology at the time, but it now is considered an obsolete method of communication. Alexander...

  • Based on science, built on trust

    Jill Kruse D.O.|May 1, 2024

    As we approach the end of our 22nd season, I would like to thank our audience for trusting us to bring them health information that is current and accurate. There are many doctors out there who cannot make the same claims as the Prairie Doc’s and I would like to take this opportunity to help sort out those charlatans and quacks from trusted sources of health information. While tasty and refreshing, I would not trust Dr. Pepper for medical advice. Nor would I trust Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, de...

  • Dry skin? Join the club

    Kelly Evans - Hullinger M.D.|Apr 24, 2024

    An exceedingly common question I get in clinic, especially in the heart of a South Dakota winter, is how to remedy dry skin. And the questions aren’t just in clinic; my own kids, family, friends, everyone seems to have an occasional problem with dry and irritated skin. Dry skin is something we are all familiar with; if your dry spots come with a rash or anything else unusual, it may be worth showing it to your primary care provider, as it could be something else entirely. Eczema, a common i...

  • Reflecting on progress

    Debra Johnson M.D.|Apr 17, 2024

    It’s human nature to tell stories about the past and doctors aren’t immune to that impulse. The second year medical students rotating through my clinic have me reflecting on my own years as a fledgling physician, and the changes I’ve seen in my decades of practice. I remember one late evening spent in the PICU watching over a toddler who had meningitis. At one point I turned and bumped into a bedrail, which came crashing down. Both my preceptor and I jumped and I probably even shrieked. The child, however, didn’t even blink. That’s when we k...

  • Pain: It's no joke

    Jill Kruse DO, Prairie Doc|Apr 10, 2024

    There is an old joke where a man walks into his doctor’s office and says, “Doc, it hurts every time I do this. What should I do? To which the doctor replies, “Simple, don’t do that!” While the advice seems trite and maybe even insulting, like most jokes, there is some truth in it. Pain is one of the ways your body tries to protect you from even worse injury. Pain tries to keep you from walking on a sprained ankle or lifting things with a broken arm. In those cases, the advice from the doctor is...

  • Joint replacement surgery: an individualized decision

    Kelly Evans - Hullinger M.D., Prairie Doc|Apr 3, 2024

    As a general internist who does primary care for adult and elderly patients, I talk to patients a lot about arthritis and joint replacement surgery. This type of surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is one of the most common types of elective surgery done in the United States. Knees, hips and shoulders are the most frequently done arthroplasties, and most of those surgeries are done for severe osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is due to wear-and-tear of the...

  • Feeling winded

    Andrew Ellsworth MD, Prairie Doc|Mar 27, 2024

    “Well, doc,” the patient was telling me, “I get winded so easily now. I can hardly go to the mailbox without stopping to catch my breath. It did not used to be that way. Do you think something is wrong?” Many of us have experienced shortness of breath. After a period of inactivity, such as winter or a busy month, when we decide to exercise again, it may be easier to feel winded. That experience can be due to deconditioning, feeling out of shape. A good remedy for that is a gradual increas...

  • True Self Care

    Debra Johnston M.D.|Mar 20, 2024

    During our most recent family movie night, we watched one of my favorites: Encanto. At one point in the movie, a character who has been gifted supernatural strength confesses that she fears she will crumble under the weight of all that is expected from her. Although she accomplishes amazing things, it never feels like enough. She never feels like she, herself, is enough. Popular culture suggests she should prioritize "self-care," which is usually represented by manicures or massages and long...

  • This isn't the baby blues

    Elizabeth A Milton LPCC LPCMH MS, Prairie Doc|Mar 13, 2024

    Transitioning to become a parent can be one of the most pivotal changes in a person's life. Rarely are the hard moments of this change talked about enough. For example, did you know one in five women and one in 10 men suffer from postpartum depression? Parents of any culture, race, age or income level can be affected. We commonly hear and get confused about postpartum depression being the "baby blues." This is a common misconception. The baby blues are very common and happen to 80% of women in...

  • Sexual function and aging

    Dr. Lauren Thum and Dr. Dennis Joseph Thum|Mar 6, 2024

    As husband and wife urologists, we talk a lot about sex (mainly at work). There are several issues that commonly arise in our patients that can lead to a less than satisfactory sex life. The great news is many treatment options exist. There are many factors affecting men and women as they age that can interfere with sexual relations. In women, vaginal dryness, prolapse and incontinence are most common. A decrease in circulating estrogen in peri and post-menopausal women leads to atrophy, or...

  • The nagging cough

    Kelly Evans - Hullinger M.D.|Feb 28, 2024

    “I’ve got this cough that just won’t go away,” my patient says, and I know this story all too well. Chronic cough, a cough that lasts more than two months, is a common ailment which in most cases is benign. But for the patient it is both bothersome and worrisome. If your cough has lasted for less than two months it may just be the residual effect of an upper respiratory infection. Dry cough after having one of many viruses can last for weeks and weeks and the only cure is time. In patient...

  • A garden bucket list

    Bev Wieler|Feb 21, 2024

    It still looks like winter out my kitchen window but I’m totally admiring pastel colors and cute little bunnies on everything I seem to look at the past week. Is this just because I’m tired of the gray winter scene outside, or is it because we are in Lent? I’m researching plants for the garden, shuffling my seed packages and asking friend gardeners if they have started seeds indoors. With another birthday being marked off, I find myself thinking of my garden bucket list. The bucket list chang...

  • No man is an island

    Andrew Ellsworth M.D.|Feb 21, 2024

    “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” This is the beginning of a poem from 1624. In it, the poet John Donne appreciates how humans are all connected. Indeed, humans are social beings and social connection is a factor in our health. We all know the importance of a healthy diet and exercise for our health. We are getting better at understanding the importance of mental health. One thing we do not discuss much, however, are the ben...

  • Fundamental functions: ear, nose, throat

    Debra Johnston M.D.|Feb 14, 2024

    I confess that occasionally even doctors get squeamish. Or perhaps more honestly, this doctor does. My personal list has gotten pretty short, but one of the things that still makes me squirm is something I nevertheless frequently recommend to my patients. So what is this mysterious and rather ominous medical recommendation? Nasal saline irrigation. The practice of rinsing the nose out with liquid probably originated centuries ago in India and it remains part of spiritual ritual as well as...

  • These boots are made for walking

    Jill Kruse DO, Prairie Doc|Feb 7, 2024

    Winter weather has finally arrived this year. Getting outside for some activity, even in winter, is great for your overall health. However snow, ice and cold can turn a stroll in the park into an obstacle course. Having proper footwear is not only important for warmth, but also the wellbeing of your feet. Choosing the correct boots for the elements could mean the difference between enjoying the outdoors and needing an urgent care visit. What makes good footwear for enjoying the outdoors safely?...

  • Why routine dental visits matter

    JOHN BISSON DDA, Prairie Doc|Jan 31, 2024

    Routine visits to the dentist are key to maintaining overall health. Preventive dental care starts at home. We advise patients to brush twice a day, usually in the morning and before bed, for two minutes followed by flossing. Eating healthy is also crucial to maintaining oral health. Sugary foods and beverages are key factors in tooth decay. Acid is produced when the bacteria in your mouth break down sugar. That acid dissolves the tooth surface leading to tooth decay. Preventive dental care...

  • Sleep interrupted: Sleep Apnea

    Debra Johnson M.D.|Jan 18, 2024

    My family has a fondness for crime dramas and thrillers. It isn't uncommon to watch a scene in which a peacefully-sleeping individual wakes when a shadowy figure approaches their bedside with a pillow. Predictably, the assailant calmly presses that pillow over the face of their victim and waits until the struggling stops. For millions of us, the threat in our bedrooms isn't some malevolent other, but rather our own bodies and brains. We may get our next breath, but for those with sleep apnea, it can be a struggle. Sleep apnea has two basic...

  • Seed starting despite the outdoor weather

    Bev Wieler|Jan 11, 2024

    It’s a new year which leads into new garden ideas. Visions of growing, blooming plants come to mind while a coat of snow coats the backyard as I look out my kitchen window. Garden seed catalogs have started arriving and flipping through to favorite categories I can’t help but notice the price of seeds has not come down. Will that stop us? Probably not. It means reading more and being a bit more careful when placing those tiny seeds we plant. The first step to planting seeds comes before we pur...

  • Unraveling medical myths

    JILL KRUSE DO|Dec 21, 2023

    Myths are just stories we tell ourselves and others to make sense of the world around us. Myths convey beliefs or values and attempt to tell truths. In their effort to tell the truth, myths may exaggerate or misrepresent things. Sometimes this misrepresentation is innocent, while other times it is used as a tool to regulate or manipulate people. Myths can be used to give a sense of power and control over an overwhelming situation. Of the many types of myths, ones that deal with medicine are...

  • Urinalysis in patient care

    Kelly Evans Hullinger, Prairie Doc|Dec 14, 2023

    Urinalysis, or testing of the urine, has ancient origins dating back to the time of Hippocrates and beyond. Although we have evolved in our methodology of studying the urine and our understanding of the meaning of its characteristics, we do still rely on urinalysis in making clinical diagnoses frequently in medicine. In centuries past, the tools of urinalysis were blunt and primarily involved human senses of sight, smell and taste (yes, taste). Ancient physicians noted that sediment in the...

  • A date that will live in infamy

    MAJOR ANDERSON RN|Dec 7, 2023

    December 7, 1941, is a "date that will live in infamy," as stated by President Theodore Roosevelt, in his famous speech after the events of the Pearl Harbor bombing. That event led to the United States involvement in World War II. President's Roosevelt's speech was a call to arms and a declaration of war against this act of aggression by a foreign nation. He never wanted us to forget what happened. Roosevelt concluded his speech by saying, "With confidence in our armed forces, with the unboundin...

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