The Science of Thankfulness
“When you show gratitude, physiologic changes occur in your body that are for the better,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Studies show that gratitude has been shown to positively impact physical and emotional health. Giving thanks has been linked to better overall health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, as well as more balanced brain function and enhanced relationships with romantic partners.
Holiday Hazard: Food Poison Frenzy
Unrelenting nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea are neither merry nor bright, but statistics show that approximately 400,000 Americans start the holiday season this way – with food poisoning. Family-style buffets and leftovers trigger food poisoning frenzies in emergency rooms across the U.S. each year.
Dr. Travis explains how salmonella is the main culprit behind nearly half a million food poisoning cases annually.
“Remember the two-hour rule. Food that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours is potentially dangerous,” Dr. Travis says. “According to the USDA, if you just leave food out, bacteria doubles on your food every 20 minutes after the two-hour mark.”
Dr. Travis explains that if food is refrigerated within a two-hour time frame, the likelihood of food poisoning occurring is very low.
“The bottom line is this: If you’re one of those families that keep the holiday spread out to graze on all day, and it’s been left out, ditch the leftovers!”
• Learn tips on how to stay clear of the leftover danger zone!
Good Samaritan Gratitude
“Imagine you’ve just finished lunch, you’re at a quaint café, you’re walking to your car when you come across a pregnant woman lying in the parking lot. What would you do?” Dr. Travis asks.
Watch the story of one woman’s dramatic delivery and how it turned two strangers into family.
Carol, a great-grandmother, recounts the experience of finding 21-year-old Tiffany, who was 36 weeks pregnant and suffering debilitating labor contractions.
“While she was having contractions, the daddy did get here and we just gently pulled each time she had a contraction, and sure enough, there was a little baby coming, but it was coming bottom first,” Carol says. “The next time she pushed, two little feet came out.”
Carol and Tiffany’s husband, Felipe, were able to safely deliver a baby boy, even though he was in a breeched position. Carol soon discovered that Tiffany was having twins! Paramedics arrived shortly after and transported Tiffany to the hospital, where the second baby was born.
Tiffany, Carol and her twin boys join the show to further discuss the remarkable experience. Tiffany recalls having Braxton Hicks contractions two weeks prior and figured that the painful sensation she had felt that day was attributed to the same, only to discover that she was truly in labor.
“That can happen with a lot of women. They think they’re having just Braxton Hicks and not [labor] contractions,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. “Real contractions are going to build, they’re going to get stronger and you’re going to go into labor.”
Dr. Lisa adds that Braxton Hicks are usually more irregular and will subside by either lying down or drinking water, since they are often brought on by dehydration.
See what surprises The Doctors have in store for Tiffany and Carol, courtesy of Auberge du Soleil Resort, BOB Gear and Petite Tresor!
The Essence of Courage and Survival
On April 29, 2006, Sgt. Hooker was part of the 101st Airborne, stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, when he and another soldier were struck by an improvised explosive device.
“I have no recollection of the actual incident,” Sgt. Hooker says. “From what I’ve gathered, basically, me and another soldier were on foot. About 15 to 20 meters in front of me, he either picked up or stepped on an IED, killing him instantly, and the residual blast hit me in my lower extremities.”
Sgt. Hooker recalls his first memory after the incident, waking up in a hospital bed with bandaged legs and searing pain from the waist down.
“My legs were covered, so I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me, but I knew that something was different,” he says.
Doctors explained the severity of his wounds and informed him that they would have to amputate his left foot.
“It’s a very scary thing to realize that your life is never going to be the same,” Sgt. Hooker says.
After the amputation, Sgt. Hooker was fitted with a prosthetic that attached below the knee, which enabled him to perform physical activities again, such as biking. Having retired from the military, Sgt. Hooker enrolled in the Wounded Warrior Project’s work program and was eventually hired as the defensive coordinator of the JV football team at Francis Parker High School in San Diego, California.
“There are times when I’m standing on the sidelines and it’s just an overwhelming feeling,” Sgt. Hooker says. “I’ve come so far. It took me a long time to accept my injuries, and hopefully by sharing this story, other people will feel more comfortable with their disabilities,” he adds.
Sgt. Hooker joins The Doctors to discuss what gave him the courage and strength to persevere after his life-changing injury.
“Something that the military taught me was [to] strive on. Even though the pain is there, I have a job to do,” he says. “It’s to get these kids ready to play football on Fridays, and I want them to look at me in the way I looked at my high school coach, which was invincible.”
In addition to coaching football, Sgt. Hooker still volunteers his time with the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about not only wounded veterans but veterans in general is that once we return home, that we’re finished and we’re done, and there’s nothing more for us to do” he says. “I think I speak for everyone when I say that we refuse to have our military careers be our biggest accomplishments in life.”
Sgt. Hooker discusses how he still lives with a lot of pain and everyday tasks, such as driving, are difficult. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon explains why residual pain subsists after a war injury, such as the one Sgt. Hooker suffered. Plus, The Doctors give thanks to Sgt. Hooker’s service by providing him with physical therapy and technological tools to enhance his life.
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Stetson agrees to provide Sgt. Hooker with whatever treatment he needs to help minimize his pain and maximize his mobility. In addition, Better Life Mobility will install hand controls and adaptive equipment in Sgt. Hooker’s vehicle and Sears department store will provide him with a $2,000 gift card through its program “Heroes at Home.”
Giving Autism a Voice
Carly’s story generated tens of thousands of emails and Facebook comments from inspired viewers, including Amber, a mother who says Carly’s voice helped her to hear her autistic son in a brand new way.
“Watching the show with Carly has helped me, as a mother, understand what my son, Hunter, is going through everyday that I never saw,” Amber says. “For the first time in my life, I can understand how autism works.”
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