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Soothing complementary therapies made possible through TMC Mega Raffle

Meaningful and compassionate hospice care is more than meeting complex medical needs. 

Thanks to the support from the TMC Mega Raffle, Tucson Medical Center offers soothing therapies that provide comfort, joy and peace for hospice patients – from the calming melodies of a harp, to the therapeutic knead of massage, the ease of a paintbrush stroke, and  the warm friendliness of a pet. 

Music, massage, art and pet therapies are only a few of the meaningful complimentary services offered at Peppi’s House, TMC’s inpatient hospice program.  

“It made a noticeable difference,” said Krista Durocher, the volunteer services coordinator at Peppi’s House. Massage therapy made a significant difference for Durocher’s grandmother, a hospice patient who struggled with pain and discomfort. “She was so relaxed after her massage. It was so wonderful to see her more comfortable and calm.”

The complimentary services at Peppi’s are carefully and thoughtfully chosen, from reflexology and aromatherapy to reiki and craniosacral therapy. 

“Each service has supportive data and is evidence- based,” said Director of Hospice and Palliative Care Alicia Ferguson. “We care very deeply for the patients and we provide the most effective complimentary services, assured to make a positive difference in a patient’s comfort and quality of life.”

Peppi’s House is a special place for many reasons, and one of them is the pediatric inpatient program. The complimentary therapies have an even stronger impact on children and their families. 

“It is simply wonderful to see a child’s face light-up when a pony walks in; the child and their family are all smiles – forgetting the seriousness surrounding them,” said Ferguson. Plans are in the works to grow children’s hospice services, and the Mega Raffle will be an important part of making the expanded services a reality.

Each TMC Mega Raffle ticket sold is helping hospice patients when they need it most.



This is the last in our six-part series of blogs to show the meaningful impact the TMC Mega Raffle funding has for patients and the community.

What to get for the woman in your life this holiday season – Cheap, but perfect gifts for heart, mind and soul

HealthyGiftsforWomenDear Santa,

What we want for most is peace on earth and good health for all, but I know you’re going to ask what we might like for ourselves. We don’t want for much, our health and time with the ones we love.  So here are some thoughts that are gifts of health, for body, mind and soul.

With much love,


Struggling with what to get a loved one this #holiday? Ideas of #health for body, mind & soul. #gifts Click To Tweet

To all the Santa’s helpers out there struggling with what to get their loved one, here are some ideas:

The gift of time

– A homemade certificate with the promise of time to relax and recuperate or exercise, time for a nap, time to read a book or magazine uninterrupted, or perhaps quality time spent with one another hiking, biking or other fun outdoor activities.

The gift of relaxation

– A gift certificate or homemade certificate for a relaxing massage, spa day, or perhaps a picnic in the mountains or desert. Create a basket of relaxation – some favorite soothing music, lavender eye pillow, stress ball, bath salts, candles and a good ‘airport’ book.

The gift of a healthy heart

– A playlist of some foot tapping music that demands that you move to it. A gift certificate for a pass for a favorite type of exercise class,  or perhaps one that they’ve been interested in trying. For the chefs, a book of heart healthy recipes and a basket of fruit and veg to seal the deal (perhaps pick out a favorite heart healthy recipe of your own that you think they’ll like and provide the ingredients in a nice kitchen bowl.) For the tech lover- what about a heart rate monitor or pedometer?

The most thoughtful gifts are not necessarily the most expensive. This holiday season think time, relaxation and heart and you’ll be on the way to a very happy holiday season.

Do you have additional ideas that would fall under this categories? We’d love to hear them.

First published Dec 23, 2012

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Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

EndDomesticViolenceIt’s tempting to believe that if we were in an abusive situation there is no way we would stay, that we would recognize the abuse early on for what it is and get out. When we make statements like this, we are effectively blaming the victim.  One in four women have experienced domestic abuse at some point in her life, someone you know, someone you love, has been a victim.

Myth: Domestic abuse has never happened to anyone I know.

Fact: Domestic abuse is in every community.
One in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic abuse at some point in her life.

To extradite yourself from an abusive relationship can be extremely difficult as local group Emerge! Center against Domestic Violence explains below. By being aware that domestic violence doesn’t just happen in other families or in other groups of friends, that it might not be so easy to leave as an outsider might think, we can provide the support and resources to those who need them. Check out this earlier post about what to do when you suspect domestic violence.

Reasons People Stay in Abusive Relationships:

Leaving is not as easy as it may seem. Abusers create a variety of barriers that prevent the person they are abusing from escaping. They will ruin the person’s credit, prevent them from keeping a job, talk them into letting go of their work/school permit that they need to reside legally in this country: all to make them dependent. This is in addition to driving away the person’s family and friends. Often these tactics are in place before the physical abuse starts. Leaving is also the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship; it can escalate the abuse. Getting support and safety planning is crucial.

Why they might stay:

  • Fear of retribution against not only the person experiencing the abuse, but against children, other family members or pets (the most serious and deaths in domestic abuse cases occur once the victim has left or tries to leave their abuser).
  • Hope that the relationship will get better/go back to the way it was
  • Financial dependence
  • Low self esteem
  • Guilt or feelings of obligation
  • Marriage coupled with traditional value systems of the abused’s culture or religion
  • Fear of losing or not being able to support the children
  • Isolation or lack of support from the abused’s family, friends or community
  • Emotional dependence
  • Immigration status

Need Support? Call the Emerge! Hotline. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available in both English and Spanish. If you need help, or need to know how to help a friend/family member, the hotline is here for you. Local: 795-4266 Toll-free: 888-428-0101. Learn more at

What would you do? – Suggestions for when you suspect domestic abuse

Tips for dealing with suspected domestic abuse or violence

Finding out or suspecting that a friend, work colleague, or family member is the victim of domestic abuse is always horribly upsetting. Figuring out that they have been for a long time and you missed the signs or didn’t know what to do is harrowing.

Local non-profit Emerge! Center against Domestic Violence asks us to take time today to talk about domestic violence, the signs and what to do when we notice those signs. They ask us to consider ‘Where is the line for you?’ Do we step up and say something? Or do we just ignore it and hope it will go away (hint: it won’t).

Take time today over the water cooler, at lunch, with your loved ones to ask the following questions and to check out the suggestions on the Emerge! website. By talking through these scenarios and knowing what we could do, we can’t change the past situations, but we can make a difference in how we respond from this point on.

Where is the line for you?

Questions to discuss:

1. Have you ever been uncomfortable when you heard a demeaning joke, but pretended to laugh anyway? Looking back, do you wish you’d just been honest with the person telling it?

2. Have you ever had a friend or loved one who belittled or mistreated their romantic partner? Did it happen in front of you? Did you know what to say? Do you wish you’d handled it differently?

3. When you read about the signs of abuse in this post, did anything strike a chord? Did you think back to a particular person? Do you now realize they may have been in an abusive relationship?

4. Have you ever had a friend or loved one who you knew was being abused? Did you know what to do?

If any of the above situations happened today, what would you do? Before you decide, know that you should never confront the abuser

Never confront the abuser

Confronting an abuser will definitely put an abused person in additional danger, and could also endanger you and anyone you are with.

You should always call 911 if you witness an active, ongoing assault.

Domestic abuse is a community issue.

Although not everyone is a domestic abuse advocate or counselor, we all have the opportunity to make an impact with the way we respond when these situations come up. When you see an abusive situation, what are your options? Below are some suggestions on the scenarios, find more ideas and suggestions as well as resources on the Emerge! website.  

Suggestions for when you suspect domestic abuse

Have you ever had a friend or loved one who belittled or mistreated their romantic partner? Did it happen in front of you? Did you know what to say? Do you wish you’d handled it differently?

Did the person who was mistreated defend themselves? If not, they may be in an abusive situation and may be afraid to respond to the mistreatment. Wait for an opportunity to speak to the person who was mistreated alone. Let him/her know that you value them and do not agree with the way they were treated. Let them know they deserve a partner who is always respectful of them. Try to discern if the mistreatment was an isolated incident or part of a consistent pattern of behavior. Make sure they know that you’re always available to support them and listen, and that you respect their choices.

When you read about the signs of abuse in the last post, did anything strike a chord? Did you think back to a particular person? Do you now realize they may have been in an abusive relationship?

When did you first get the sense that something was off about this person’s relationship? Was it after the fact? Whenever something feels off to you, always make sure to consider that the issue may be one of family violence. Think back to the signs of abuse, do one or more of them fit? If so wait until you have the chance to speak to speak to them privately before broaching the subject. If they deny that they are being abused, let it go, but state your availability to talk in the future. 

Have you ever had a friend or loved one who you knew was being abused? Did you know what to do?

In this situation your best option is to wait until you have a chance to speak to the victim privately. Express concern and make sure they know that you value and care about them. Offer him/her your phone to call the Emerge! Hotline (795-4266) or the police. It’s important to respect his/her decision if he/she chooses not to do either. Always let them know that you’re available to speak in the future and make sure they have/know the hotline number.

Click here for more tips.

Need Support?

EmergeLogoCall the Emerge! Hotline, it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available in both English and Spanish. If you need help, or need to knowhow to help a friend/family member, the Hotline is there for you. Local: 795-4266 Toll-free: 888-428-0101. Learn more at Pima Purple Logo_bumper_FINAL

Doctor Who? – Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month – and we’re focusing on raising awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Yes, you’re reading a blog for women’s health, but  the evidence is that women are the health care decision makers in over 75% of families – This is the place to get the message to the people doing the research, the appointment making, and the cajoling.

In our last post we discussed some of the self-checks that men should be aware of. In this post we address the more tricky question of getting a reluctant partner to participate in taking care of their health by actually going to see their doctor, and not responding ‘Doctor Whoooooooo Dr. Who?’ (Apologies for the sci-fi show humor

These suggestions could, of course, be used for any reluctant partner, male or female:

1. Be a role model

Tweet example Schedule the annual physicals for each member of the family around the same time. Taking the lead and being a role model for preventative health care for his children might be what dad needs to take his health care seriously. In this image local news anchor tweets about getting his vaccinations specifically to set a good example to his children. Way to go Scott!

2. Make it a date

Not the actual doctor’s visit, rather schedule your appointments simultaneously and then plan a fun date after.

3. Find a health care provider with convient times

For those whose work schedules fall under the typical 8am – 5pm a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the morning can be a deterrent to making and keeping the appointment. Identify care providers who have early morning, evening or even weekend appointments. While not in the majority, there are providers who do provide such appointments. We were able to schedule a recent specialist appointment for 7am! In and out and made it to work on time for an 8am meeting.

No luck finding a physician who provides early morning or evening appointments? How about establishing a primary care physician close to their work place? A lunch appointment with a short travel time allows for less time away from work-important when you have limited sick time available and/or the workaholic.

4. Health counts

Health counts in every part of our life, whether it is so we may enjoy our families to the fullest extent, to work to make a living, to follow a passion, or to participate in a sport, the healthier we are the more able we are to achieve those goals. Appealing to a passion and how maintaining good health and preventing illnesses not only allow participation, but also help success may work for your loved one.

Let’s talk about Men – Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month. I know, I know, this is a women’s health blog, but who are we kidding? If we want to get men involved in taking preventative health measures we often have to talk to the women in their lives, be they partners, sisters, mothers or daughters. The first thing to do? Know what self-checks men should be doing on a regular basis:

1.Checking that lump or bump – Testicular Health

Testicular cancer is not common as a whole, but it is the leading cancer for men between the ages 20-34 years old and it is most often discovered by the man himself or his partner, so we’re using the term self-check loosely  here. The good news is that testicular cancer has a high cure rate. If your partner has a lump or bump, or an enlarged testicle the time has come to talk with a doctor. Men, who have a family history or who had an undescended testicle are at higher risk for testicular cancer and should be particularly aware. Note: most lumps or swellings are not a sign of cancer, but your loved one should contact his primary care physician if a lump is found.

2. When a quick trip to the bathroom isn’t quite so simple – Urination Issues

Whether your loved one is getting up four times a night, or complaining that it is difficult to urinate, it’s time to call in the professionals and see a physician. An enlarged prostrate can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder making it hard to urinate.  Prostrate cancer is a common male cancer and other symptoms include pain or burning when they pass urine and frequently waking up in the night to pee.

3. Looking for moles in all the wrong, or at least difficult to reach places.

This is one is especially important here in the desert for both you and the men in your life. While women’s skin cancers tend to be areas that will be seen by themselves or others, backs of legs, arms etc., men often develop skin cancer in areas not seen everyday and difficult to see for themselves ex. on their back. They’re going to need a little help with that self-check.

4. Getting in your head, or rather their head – Depression

Depression isn’t ‘just in your head.’ It is a real medical illness that needs to be addressed. More over, depression impacts other aspects of your health and your life, social, family life. Many men hold on to the messages they’ve been bombarded with since their childhood, ‘boys don’t cry and men don’t talk about their problems’ and are reluctant to talk about their mental health. It is often easier for a loved one (perhaps you)to notice the symptoms of depression. Our Healthwise Encyclopedia includes an interactive tool called Are you Depressed? 

5. Impotence or erectile dysfunction

Just one of those things men might like to ignore and pretend didn’t happen, but most men at some point in their life will experience, erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction or impotence is when a man cannot get or keep an erection. These problems can occur at any age, but are more common in older men, who often have other health problems. While the occasional occurrence might not be an issue, recurring problems may indicate a health problem that needs professional attention.  Erectile problems can have many causes. These include:

  • Physical problems, such as injury to nerves or loss of blood supply

  • Other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.

  • Side effects of certain medicines.

  • Stress

  • Too much alcohol or smoking

  • Surgery, such as for prostate cancer.

From the Healthwise Encyclopedia

Next time: Tips for the encouraging the men in your life to take care of their health

As with all information provided on our blogs this does not substitute for medical advice. Please see a medical professional about any concerns you may have.

Keeping the holidays in perspective

We’re not waiting for January 1 to give the gift of health, we’re starting now. This is the third in the series sharing tips and ideas that you can incorporate this season, to give the best gift – a healthy you.

When we discuss health we recognize our both physical and emotional health. While the tendency is to dismiss stress as a factor in our health,  and being told to “Just relax” typically has the reverse effect, stress has a very real impact on our physical as well as emotional health. In this post Julie shares her perspective on keeping the holidays in perspective.

No matter what your spiritual beliefs, this time of year is typically a time of celebration. Nearly a month ago we gave thanks for the gifts in our lives, and before that some of us lit clay lamps for Diwali. Just last week some of  our houses were aglow with candles eight nights in a row. Soon others of us will celebrate Kwanzaa or Christmas, or both, or neither.

Winter celebrations are about quality time with people you love, not about staying up all night to buy electronics at a big box store (though if that’s what floats your boat, who are we to judge you?) Creating genuinely enjoyable celebrations that reflect your values and feel right to you is a wonderful way to make the holidays matter, to solidify your connections with family, friends, and community.

Rachel, the resident TMC for Women blogger,  has a family tradition of having friends over for a dinner of potato leek soup and chili, and then going for a group bike ride through Winterhaven. Living in Tucson, some families enjoy a hike up Tumamoc Hill on what will likely be a sunny Christmas day, when, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, you probably won’t be working and your kids certainly won’t be in school. How wonderful to have a holiday celebration that’s meaningful, fun, and even healthy!

Other families and friends spend time doing charitable work, focusing on service and giving, rather than (or in addition to) buying and receiving material goods. Reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for, especially right now, when a community across the country is grieving for the loss of schoolchildren and teachers, is a way to keep things in perspective and focus on what really matters.

My husband and I like to have a picnic in the desert on New Year’s Day and talk about all that’s happened over the last year—a bit of reflection before turning our thoughts toward the year ahead. Does your family, or group of friends, have any traditions that are unique or especially meaningful?

What to buy a new mom? – Six ideas to inspire you

What to buy a new mom. Six ideas to inspire youDid you know that late summer/ early fall is baby boom time at Tucson Medical Center?  More babies are born at this time than any other time of the year. So you might find your inbox aflood with birth announcements, or you might have been spending days labor-stalking your pregnant friends.

Once the baby’s here, what are some ways you can help out a new mama? What gifts are most appreciated?

Chances are, the new baby is already loaded up with cute clothes and stuffed animals—people love buying baby outfits and plush bunnies. And there is likely more than one copy of “Goodnight Moon” awaiting the wee babe at home.

So how can you really make a new mom’s life easier? After all, the baby has all s/he needs—mama, milk, and lots of love. To really celebrate the hard work of birth, and to make sure you’re not giving a gift that won’t be appreciated, focus on the mom!

1. What about a gift certificate for a local market or restaurant, preferably one that delivers?

Being able to pick up the phone and 45 minutes later find a cheese and avocado sandwich and fruit salad and dessert on my doorstep would have been pretty close to ecstasy for me in those early, topsy-turvy days.

2. Organize a Meal Train

Food in general is an awesome gift. We came home from the hospital to find a refrigerator full of delicious healthy food made and delivered by our good friends R and D. For whatever reason I had an insatiable appetite for fruit right after delivery, and the giant fruit salad made me weep, if I recall. They also left a hearty vegetarian chili, perfect for a ravenous nursing mom. Best of all, when I returned the empty food containers to them, they refilled them and gave us MORE fruit salad and chili. Dang. Those are good friends indeed. I think you can never go wrong with giving new parents really good fruit. More and more people have been using web sites such as Meal Train so that friends and family can schedule days for meal delivery.

Remember—you are bringing a meal to the family—you are not dining with them!

It’s stressful for a new mom, even more so, perhaps, if she’s having nursing challenges, to entertain guests. Drop off your meal in a container that doesn’t need to be returned (buy a serving dish at a thrift store and leave a note for the family saying “no need to return”, or put the meal in a nice reusable container).

3. Gift Certificates

nursingbraDesertCradle.jpgGift certificates are great. Perhaps a gift certificate to TMC’s Desert Cradle. Yes, mom could be practical with pumping supplies OR she could be practical and indulgent with a supportive, practical and pretty nursing bra like these in this post. How about a massage? A massage is a great gift because it forces the new parent out of the house for a small but concrete amount of time and allows her to do something indulgent without guilt. After all, gift certificates expire! Some local massage studios offer in-home massage if it’s hard for the new mom to leave.

If you’re feeling really splurge-y, what about a luxurious pedicure, facial, or spa afternoon for the new mom? Or even for both parents, or the mom and her BFF –you can offer to babysit, if they are comfortable and ready to leave their newborn for a couple of hours.

4.Pay for a Housecleaner

Paying for several hours of a housecleaning service would be another welcome gift for most new moms—this can be pricey, but it’s a great gift-from-the-office, or from her book club.

5. Movies

A three-month Netflix membership might be nice. Pair it up some indulgent desserts, and you’ve provided the new parents with a season’s worth of entertainment. They may not be having a lot of physical intimacy with each other at this point in the so-called fourth trimester, but at least they’ll be able to snuggle up and enjoy a cheap date at home.

6. A little something for mom

We got so many wonderful gifts when our son was born, but one that really stands out was a bottle of body moisturizing spray from my best friend from junior high. Amid the boxes and bags of sweet little things for our son was this simple yet delicious treat for me, just me. I was 7 weeks postpartum and was in that phase where I felt really, really icky. Still sore and stiff from labor (and an unexpected C-section), still enduring lots of nighttime wakeups, leaking boobs, hair scraggly and lank (on its way to falling out), this gift made me feel so good. I liked the spray because I could reach my back, which was obviously hard to do anyway but particularly hard right then. The gift made me feel taken care of, attended to, like someone was saying “Hey, you! Yeah, you. Take a minute and use this, will you? Take care of yourself!”