Tag Archives: private duty nursing


Checking Blood Sugar Levels

Sixty years ago, downtown Chicago was a destination for shopping, for the arts, and for business. It was a bustling town.

Marshall Field’s thirteen story building dominated the commercial area. Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1891-1892, it took up an entire city block bounded clockwise by State Street, Randolph Street, Wabash Avenue, and Washington Street. The interior featured a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass mosaic vaulted ceiling in the five-story balconied atrium in the southwest corner of the building.

At Christmas time, at the street level there were ornate decorated window displays including thirteen themed windows. Upstairs in the Walnut Room, a three-story decorated Christmas tree was the focal point of the room. Families would stand in long lines waiting to be seated at the tables under the tree.

Jean worked in an office in the Loop, not far from Marshall Field’s. Her job was to calculate tariffs for freight on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe lines. This was an important but difficult job because all the calculations were made using pencil and paper. Computers had not yet been universally adopted for business use.

During lunch hour, she would often go to Marshall Field’s just to browse. It was a way to get away from the office for a few minutes. She enjoyed looking at the store’s merchandise and feeling the excitement of the shoppers. Occasionally, she would buy a piece of costume jewelry for herself or a gift for a family member.

In 1957, Jean developed diabetes. For years, she continued to work. She managed her diabetes with diet and with injections of insulin. She died of kidney failure in 1986.

What is diabetes? According to the American Diabetic Association website, www.diabetes.org, “Diabetes is a disease that occurs in several different types, with the main factor the inability to produce enough insulin in the pancreas to handle the demands of the foods and sugars that enter the body.” There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

According to the American Diabetic Association website, www.diabetes.org, “Nearly 30 million battle diabetes and every 23 seconds someone new is diagnosed. Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.”

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com. or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski


Do you know someone who has COPD? According to the Mayo Clinic article “COPD” at https://www.mayoclinic.org, symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) include difficulty breathing, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. Other signs and symptoms may include chest tightness, blue lips or fingernail beds, lack of energy, and swelling in ankles, feet, or legs.

In developing countries, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes. The main cause of COPD in developed countries is long-term cigarette smoking. Other irritants can cause COPD. These include cigar smoke, secondhand smoke, pipe smoke, air pollution, and workplace exposure to dust, smoke, or fumes.

The American Lung Association is the most recognized organization fighting lung diseases. Two Fight For Air Climb events are scheduled for the Chicago area in 2019. The first will be February 9, 2019, at Oakbrook Terrace Tower. Participants will climb 31 floors, 680 stairs. The second will be March 10, 2019, at Presidential Towers in Chicago. Participants will climb 180 floors, 2,340 stairs.

In 2004, the COPD Foundation was created. It is a 501©(3) foundation with offices in Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida. This organization has a unique program called HARMONICAS FOR HEALTH. Recognizing the role that lung function plays in COPD, the foundation has implemented the first national harmonica program created for individuals with COPD and other chronic lung diseases.

The COPD Foundation web site, https://www.copdfoundation.org, describes the value of the program: “Harmonica practice allows individuals with COPD to better control breathing, exercise the muscles that help pull air in and push air out of the lungs, strengthen abdominal muscles for a more effective cough, and more. Participants of the Harmonica for Health Program can order free education kits that include a basic model harmonica, Play Harmonica Today! Book with DVD and audio CD, and easy-to-read information on lung anatomy, COPD, and breathing techniques.”

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

-By Karen Centowski

To see a video Harmonica Jam, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMAyxQ77SMM.


Say you’re flying into O’Hare Airport and want to get to downtown Chicago. What are your options? Currently, you have five options. You could take a CTA train for $5.00 or less and get downtown in forty-five minutes. You could take a taxi for around $40.00 and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could use the shuttle van services for over $25.00 and arrive downtown in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could hail a rideshare such as Lyft or Uber for $35.00-$50.00 (surges to $140 or more) and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes.

As early as the 1990’s, Richard J. Daley had envisioned a high-speed rail line between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. In fact, according to a Chicago Tribune article published June 14. 2018, the city and CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) spent more than $250 million on the Block 37 “superstation,” a shopping center atop a station for the high-speed rail. However, “Daley ordered the work stopped in 2008, saying the technology was outdated and more than $100 million more was still needed for completion.”

In 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel resurrected the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare and in 2016 hired outside engineers to help explore the possibility for the high-speed rail line.

On February 9, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference to provide an update on the state of Chicago’s infrastructure. He also endorsed the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. The rail line was expected to cost billions of dollars and would require major support from private investors. Emanuel announced that Bob Rivkin, who had previously served as general counsel for the CTA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Delta Air Lines, had been hired “to drum up support and find partners to make the new O’Hare express line a reality.”

Enter Elon Musk, the billionaire tech entrepreneur. On June 14, 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Elon Musk’s Boring Company had been selected from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. Musk’s Boring Company would dig a fourteen-feet in diameter tunnel from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. Lined with interlocking concrete pieces, the tunnel would contain self-driving electric vehicles called “skates.” Each “skate” could transport sixteen passengers at speeds from 100-150 m.p.h. Under Musk’s proposal, it would take just twelve minutes for passengers to get from O’Hare to downtown Chicago at an estimated cost of $25.00.

The estimated cost of the project is almost $1 billion. Who is going to pay for this? Elon Musk says his company will pay for the entire project. “In exchange for paying to build the new transit system, Boring would keep the revenue from the system’s transit fees and any money generated by advertisements, branding, and in-vehicle sales,” Rivkin said.

Will Musk’s high-speed transit system ever get built? Critics point to numerous challenges such as environmental impacts, regulatory approvals, financing costs, and unforeseen complications. According to a Chicago Sun Times article “Mayoral challengers, academics raise caution flags about Musk’s O’Hare Express,” Joe Schwieterman, director of DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute, “gave the mayor and Musk high marks for dreaming big and aiming high. But he gave the project only a one-in-three chance of ever being built. And even if it does, he’s afraid Chicago taxpayers could get stuck with at least part of the tab.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video Elon Musk’s Boring Company To Build Express To O’Hare, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24yqz0jZVaw.


Ever since the first enclosed shopping mall opened outside Minneapolis in 1956, shopping malls have dominated retail. The mix of anchor stores including Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s and hundreds of smaller shops proved a winning combination. Serious shoppers could purchase clothing, jewelry, toys, books, Halloween costumes, and even major appliances from a variety of stores. Teenagers could go to the mall to “hang out.” Mall walkers could use the indoor walkways as exercise areas. The mall was the place to be.

These new shopping malls ranged from the humongous Mall of America in Minneapolis to the upscale Watertower Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago to the local malls outside large cities across America. At its peak, there were more than 3,000 malls in the United States. Only 1,100 currently exist.

Anchor stores such as Sears. JC Penney, Carson’s, and Macy’s were critical to the success of the malls. They drew a large number of customers within the malls. The smaller shops benefited from the increased foot traffic past their stores. In addition, retailers often signed co-tenancy agreements in their leases with malls. These agreements allowed them to reduce their rent or get out of a lease if a big store closed.

Major department stores such as Sears, JC Penney, Carson’s, and Macy’s are struggling to stay alive. According to an article “America’s Malls Are Rotting Away” published December 12, 2017, “Sears, which had operated nearly 3,800 stores as recently as a decade ago, is now down to 1,104 stores. Macy’s closed 68 stores this year, and JCPenney was set to shutter 128.” Carson’s has recently announced it is going out of business.

What caused these anchor stores to fail? A number of factors contributed to the failures. Too rapid expansion. Changing habits of shoppers. Online shopping. Competition from Amazon.

Each story is different. For example, consider the story of Sears. This company had started out in 1888 as a mail order business. Using its famous Sears Catalog, it was able to reach potential customers in big cities, in small towns, and on farms across the United States. Sears sold everything from clothing to musical instruments to houses. Sears opened stores in large cities. By the turn of the century, it was the nation’s largest employer.

In the 21st century, things changed. Sears faced increased competition from companies such as Walmart and Home Depot. To raise capital, it sold off its Craftsman tool line, DieHard batteries, and Kenmore appliances brands. It sold off real estate of underperforming stores. According to http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/30/news/companies/sears-losses/index.html, “Sears, which had operated nearly 3,800 stores as recently as a decade ago is now down to 1,104 stores.”

To see a video about the changing face of shopping malls, go to “American shopping malls struggle to survive You Tube.”

—By Karen Centowski



Mom always had a huge garden on the farm. She grew potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, onions, green beans, sweet corn, pickles, cucumbers, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and blackberries. There was a bed of asparagus along the fence, and rhubarb plants in another area. A peach tree and an apricot tree grew along the path to the chicken house. We used to say that if we couldn’t grow it, we didn’t eat it.

When Dad retired from farming in 1968, he and Mom moved to a house in Decatur. The house was on a quiet street, not far from a small shopping center. The property backed up to the baseball fields of a high school. The backyard was perfect for a garden. Dad trucked in a load of good, black dirt.

Mom and Dad lived in that house for many years. Then Mom’s mind began to fail. It was as if a computer in her brain had a short in it. Once she tried defrosting a frozen chicken by putting it in the bedroom closet instead of in the refrigerator. She was storing the object in an inappropriate place, an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another time, Dad had driven Mom to the beauty shop just a few blocks away. He told her to call him when she was finished at the beauty shop, and he would pick her up. He was sitting in his big Lazy Boy chair next to the front window when he saw Mom walking past on the sidewalk. By the time he got up to go outside to get her, she had disappeared. Vanished. Dad called the police, and they came to help search for Mom. They found her around the corner about half a block. She was sitting in a Burger King! Getting lost in familiar places is another early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sometimes when they left the house to visit relatives, she would become frantic at dusk. She thought they needed to get home to put the screen in the door of the chicken house so the foxes would not eat the chickens. That was the routine we had when we lived on the farm, but that was years ago. This was another sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mom could still dress herself. She could still cook. Since Dad was in good health and living in the house with her, Mom was able to continue living in their house. Without Dad, she would have needed in-home care or an assisted living facility. She died suddenly at age eighty-one.

If you have a family member who needs in-home services, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski


When the snow melts and the grass turns green again, homeowners often get the urge to begin working in the yard or garden. Maybe the husband and wife go to a nursery and select a tree to plant in the yard. Maybe they stop at Home Depot to look at the samples of wood fence to enclose the backyard. The kids would love to have a swing set or, better yet, a tree house. Each of these projects requires digging in the ground.

Have you ever thought about what is buried in the ground of a typical subdivision? Storm sewers, sanitary sewers, natural gas lines, electrical wires, telephone lines, cable wires, water lines. If the homeowner accidentally punctures or severs one of these underground lines, the results could be catastrophic.

State law requires that you notify JULIE at least two business days (excluding weekends and holidays) before any digging project regardless of the project size or depth. Even if you are digging in the same location as a previous project, you must notify JULIE.

To notify JULIE, call 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123. Call center agents are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. There is no charge for this service. According to http://illinois1call.com, you will be asked to provide the following information when you call:

  • Your name, address, a phone number at which you can be reached, an email address and a fax and/or pager number, if available
  • The location of the excavation will take place, including county, city or unincorporated township, section and quarter section numbers if available, address, cross street (within ¼ mile), subdivision name, etc.
  • Start date and time of planned excavation
  • Type and extent of excavation involved
  • Whether the dig area has been outlined with white paint, flags or stakes

You will be given a dig number that identifies specific information about your locate request. It is important that you keep this number as proof that you contacted JULIE.

JULIE does not own or mark underground lines. Instead, JULIE notifies the utility companies so that they can mark your property. The utilities use the following colors of flags, stakes, or paint to mark the underground lines:

  • Red – Electric
  • Yellow – Gas, oil or petroleum
  • Orange – Communications
  • Blue – Potable water
  • Purple – Reclaimed water, irrigation
  • Green – Sewer
  • White – Proposed excavation
  • Pink – Temporary go to https://survey


An underground line may actually be within 18 inches of either side of the marked line. This is called the tolerance zone. Use extreme care when digging within 18 inches on either side of the utility marking. Digging by hand is recommended within the tolerance zone.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video called Digging Dangers 24: Strike Three! Excavation Accidents YouTube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A53Qo1QIp3w.


If you love tomatoes on the vine, you probably love summer when fresh tomatoes are plentiful. Now, thanks to hydroponic methods, you can get locally grown vine-ripened tomatoes all year round.

One hydroponic farming operation is located in Rochelle, Illinois. According to an article in the February 12, 2018 issue of The Beacon-News, “the glass-enclosed facility consists of two 7 1/2-acre greenhouses that today produce a total of 9 million pounds of tomatoes annually.” They are sold at Jewel food stores under the MightyVine label. The facility also supplies tomatoes to over three-hundred Chicago-area restaurants. In addition, MightyVine canned tomatoes are sold to area Whole Foods and Jewel stores.

Developer Daniel Murphy, who owns the Rochelle facility, said the idea came from his dad, “an Italian-Irish man who was raised in the Chicago area and knows the food industry here. This was my father’s passion and vision, and he always felt the issue was how to have fresh produce here year-round.”

Murphy continued, “Tomatoes are 90 percent water and don’t transport well and are often picked before they’re ripe, which means not having their true color or taste.” MightyVine boasts its tomatoes “are picked today and on your plate tomorrow.”

Murphy said that the company employs 100 workers and that “we have applications on file for 300 more people waiting to get a job here. People get to work in a (climate) controlled environment 365 days a year where it’s never too hot or too cold, and we have our own ecosystem where we use rainwater and collect it in barrels, and water is provided directly to the roots.” Murphy continued, “We have our own bees we use for pollination-it’s a complete system.”

State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) and members of the Illinois Farm Bureau recently toured the MightyVine tomato “growhouse” in Rochelle. Russ Orrill, assistant director of state legislation for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said that the decision to raise tomatoes was no accident. Local markets and grocery stores consistently report that the tomato is their Number 1 commodity. Orrill went on to explain, “Because of the versatility of the tomato between salads, salsas and all the various sauces, it’s the commodity people most ask for.”

Next time you’re in Jewel, pick up a box of MightyVine tomatoes. I guarantee that you will eat them and declare that they are “mighty fine tomatoes.”

To see a video about MightyVine tomatoes, go to Chicago’s Best Tomato: YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgCiptp8aak.

By Karen Centowski