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Heidi Overcame Hurdles to Advocate for Those with Disabilities

by Jessica April 20 2018 06:25
meet heidi scholarship recipient 180 medical

Last fall, we were excited to announce the 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of the applicants' essays were incredibly moving, and our seven finalists were certainly no exception!

Take a moment to get to know our previously featured recipients: 
MeghaFrankChelseaJoseph, and Elizabeth.

Today, we'd love for you to meet Heidi!


180 medical scholarship recipient heidi 2017 quote


Educating & Advocating for the Disabled

While Heidi goes to school to further her education, she works as an Adult Basic Educator and helps adults improve their basic skills in math, reading, and even with American Sign Language.

As a deaf and disabled woman who is a Disabilities Advocate, Heidi also has the amazing opportunity to help adults and children living with disabilities. She uses dolls that have been fitted with MIC-KEY buttons (a low-profile feeding tube) and colostomy stomas in order to help familiarize children who may be new to living with a feeding tube or an ostomy.

But if you had asked her twenty years ago what she would be doing with her life, she would never have imagined that things would turn out quite the way they have.


heidi and ostomy dolls for childrenHeidi with some of the educational tools and dolls that she uses to help familiarize children with their condition and normalize living with an ostomy and/or a feeding tube 


Unexpected Illness & Loss Changed Everything

Before Heidi got started on her current career path, she earned degrees in Nursing as well as Music Education. For many years, she worked as a Developmental Nurse Educator.

helping disabled kidsHeidi says, "I provided families with the tools necessary to gently shape their precious children's global development, while also sharing in the celebration of successes, comforting them in times of grief, acknowledging their fears, validating their hopes, and empowering them to advocate for their children." Her profession, at the time, truly fed her soul and allowed her to use her experiences, education, and gifts in helping others.

But then, everything changed. Originally, Heidi had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for many years. Then she found out that the original diagnosis was incorrect; she had inherited Mitochondrial Myopathy. 

Mitochondrial Myopathy, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, affects the cells of the body and can cause "both muscular and neurological effects" like:

  • Weakened muscles
  • Hearing loss / deafness
  • Balance issues
  • Seizures
  • Learning deficits
Around this time, her youngest child tragically passed away due to a severe neurological disease. Then she had to battle a form of drug-resistant pneumonia that caused multiple complications for Heidi. The worst was anticipated, and she was put into hospice care. 

However, Heidi says, "I had more work to do."


Using Her Experience to Help Others

sign language heartTo everyone's astonishment, including her doctors, Heidi worked hard to get her strength back. She made it through her illness and eventually returned to school to major in Deaf Studies. 

It wasn't long after this that she began her role as an Adult Basic Educator and tutored students who were "disadvantaged by disability, poverty, and inadequate social and educational support." 

Today, Heidi is working toward earning her Master's degree in Higher Education, and she hopes to create a more accessible educational program for these students. 

It's truly amazing to see someone who has gone through so much and is still so eager to keep moving forward and aid other people in need of a helping hand.

We wish Heidi the best of luck and blessings as she moves forward with her career plans and continues to use her personal experience to comfort those living with disabilities or families dealing with losses of their own. 


About the 180 Medical Scholarship

We understand that college isn't easy to afford for many students, and it can be especially difficult for those living with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those students who are determined to keep working hard to achieving their goals and dreams.

Currently through June 1, 2018, 180 Medical is accepting applications for our 2018 scholarship program. You can find full information, eligibility requirements, and download an application at www.180medical.com/scholarships.


180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


 

The Number One Reason Why You Shouldn't Reuse Your Catheters

by Jessica April 11 2018 05:29
why you should not reuse your catheters

Have you ever wondered whether you should throw away your intermittent catheters after you use them once? If so, you're not the only one.

At 180 Medical, we occasionally hear from people who have been told that it's safe or economical to reuse their intermittent catheters. However, there's a very good reason why you may not want to risk washing and reusing your catheters!


The Surprise Risk of Reusing Catheters

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are a fairly common but painful ailment, and reusing catheters actually increases the risk of contracting this type of infection.

urinary tract infection medicationMultiple tests in professional research settings have indicated that there is a risk of contracting UTIs when reusing catheters even if the intermittent catheters are cleaned between uses.

In one laboratory test using PVC urethral catheters, it was found that a full antibacterial washing method still failed to sanitize 67% of the catheters.

No matter what your method of cleaning a catheter may be, pathogens and organisms, including E. coli, are often left behind in the tube and on its surface, and these can cause infections and illness. 

do not reuse catheters symbolThe FDA recommends that intermittent catheters be considered single use devices only. This is why you will see a small symbol that looks like a 2 with a slash over it (pictured to the right) printed on every catheter package. You can find out all about the rest of the symbols of your catheter's packaging and what they mean in this helpful blog

According to researchers at UBC (University of British Columbia), the idea that you can reuse your catheter without risk to your health is simply not true. A Vancouver clinician and professor of medicine at UBC, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, pointed to his experience working at the Summer Paralympics in London. He found that the athletes who used their intermittent catheters once and then properly disposed of them experienced 3 to 4 times fewer UTIs than athletes who reused their catheters.


reusing catheters vs single use quote


Urinary Tract Infections From Reusing Catheters

If you've ever experienced a UTI, you already know how painful and uncomfortable this type of infection can be. Usually, this type of infection must be treated with a round of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or other healthcare professional.

UTIs lead to over 7 million physician visits each year, according to a recently published study, and the financial costs associated with UTIs in the United States alone total around $1.6 billion dollars annually.

Some of the most common symptoms of UTIS include:
  • Smelly, cloudy, or bloody urine
  • Chills
  • Pain in the abdomen and back or pain when urinating
  • Burning sensation in the urethra
  • Increased need to go to the restroom
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to hold back your urine)
emergency roomIf you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible so you can be treated before the symptoms progress.

When UTIs go untreated, the infection may spread upwards to the bladder and even into the kidneys.

Kidney infections can be dangerous to the point of life-threatening symptoms that may require a trip to the emergency room and hospitalization.

This is why it's so crucial to not only treat UTIs as soon as possible, but also to do all you can in practicing proper cathing hygiene to decrease your risk of infection.


UTI Prevention is Important

180 medical founder todd brownAt 180 Medical, we do all we can to make sure our customers are informed of their product options as well as the potential risks of reusing catheters.

In fact, 180 Medical's founder Todd Brown has personal experience with the pitfalls of reusing intermittent catheters. After Todd's spinal cord injury, he washed and reused his intermittent catheters, but he kept getting recurrent UTIs that dragged down his health and energy levels. This was all while he was trying to get back to a normal life after rehabilitation therapy. 

Thanks to some friends he met in the wheelchair racing community, Todd learned about sterile use (also called single use), which is the practice of using a catheter once and then disposing of it. He was also introduced to the world of advanced catheter products that are designed to reduce the risk of UTIs, like closed system catheters.

The recurrent UTIs that had plagued him went away, and Todd felt like his quality of life had taken a 180 degree turn.

180 medical customer serviceThis all led to Todd's decision to create 180 Medical. He wanted to be able to turn other's lives around too. 

Today, Todd's experience still guides us in all we do to provide our customers with high-quality, affordable urethral catheter products

We understand that the process of ordering intermittent catheters can be daunting. Our trained Catheter Specialists will gladly listen to your needs, preferences, and budgetary concerns.

We provide full information on all of the types of catheters available on the market as well as helpful instructional guides on how to self-cath.

When you order through 180 Medical, we handle all the work in contacting your doctor for any necessary documentation that your insurance plan may require, and we even offer free shipping to get your order right to your door. 

Contact us today to find the right catheter for you and start turning your life around!


Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of the potential risks of reusing catheters according to research. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.


Sources: Kathleen Christison, Walter Matthias, Jean-Jacques J.M. Wyndaele, Michael Kennelly, Thomas M. Kessler, Vanessa K. Noonan, Fallah Nader, and Andrei V. Krassioukov. Journal of Neurotrauma. Apr 2018.

FME Wagenlehner, MD, PhD; KG Naber, MD, PhD. Urinary Tract Infections - General. www.antimicrobe.org



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MTG Eagle Board for Quadriplegic Self-Catheterizing

by Mason April 6 2018 05:37
mtg eagle board for quadriplegic self catheterization

My name is Mason Ellis. I was involved in a car accident during my senior year of high school, which rendered me quadriplegic with a C5 spinal cord injury. You can read more about my story here. Since then, I have been actively working on beating my spinal cord injury every day.

It's my goal to use my experience to help and inspire others. I like to peer mentor and volunteer when I can, and one of my primary ways of reaching out to others with spinal cord injuries is through my YouTube channel.  My wide variety of original videos include educational information about quadriplegia, including what tenodesis is and why quadriplegics sometimes experience spasms, as well as helpful how-to videos like dressing yourself as a quadriplegic.


mason ellis


Self-Cathing After a Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury, catheterizing may be a necessity, depending on your level of injury. Using intermittent catheters can keep your bladder from over-filling and prevent leakage. However, self-cathing can be difficult if you are a quadriplegic with poor hand dexterity. 

When I was first injured as a C5 quadriplegic, I was unable to self-cath until about a year after my injury. That's when 180 Medical introduced me to the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter. 

Another helpful product I recently discovered that can help quadriplegics and others with limited hand dexterity with the process of catheterization is the MTG Eagle™ Board. The Eagle™ Board, manufactured by MTG (Medical Technologies of Georgia), was created to help catheter-users with low or limited dexterity perform self-catheterization on their own.

This adaptive cathing board, pictured below, is designed to be used with the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter and works to help with inserting your catheter into the bladder. 


mtg eagle board pictured with ez gripper catheter


MTG Eagle™ Board's Features

The MTG Eagle™ Board has many features that can help male catheter-users who live with poor hand dexterity, whether due to a spinal cord injury or another condition like transverse myelitis or spina bifida.

The MTG Eagle™ Board's unique features include:

Repositionable "Wings"
The adjustable wings on the bottom of the Eagle Board allow it to rest comfortably between your thighs at just the right angle so your urine will flow easily into your closed system catheter bag.

mtg eagle board on catheter user's lapPants Hook
The adjustable pants hook holds your pants down for you, which frees your hands and makes catheterizing much easier.

Thumb Holes
There are two thumb or finger holes near the top of the Eagle Board that allow you to easily maneuver it between your legs or pick it up with minimal effort.

Housing Clip
The housing clip works to lock the catheter down to the Eagle Board securely, leaving your hands free. 

Penile Lever
The magnetic penile lever sets the penis in place for inserting the catheter tube. 

Foam Pads
The foam pads are used to keep soft contact against your skin and can be adjusted for different body types and even replaced if worn down after many uses.

Allen Screws
The Allen screws are used to tighten the adjustable wings, which keeps the board at the proper angle for inserting the catheter tube. 

Latex-Free
Convenient for those with latex allergies. 

Convenient Size & Design
The Eagle Board is also small and compact enough that you can carry it in a backpack or briefcase with ease wherever you go. If you get it dirty, it's easy to wash off and dry or wipe down with an antibacterial wipe, so you can reuse it every time you self-cath.


mtg eagle board for self cathing


How to Use the MTG Eagle™ Board

Take a look at my full video explaining how to use the MTG Eagle™ Board to get closer look at the size and shape of this helpful adaptive cathing accessory. I discuss and point out each of its features and give you a step-by-step tutorial of how to use the Eagle™ Board as a part of your cathing routine. 



Once you adjust the wings for the proper angle and attach the MTG EZ-Gripper® catheter, supplied by 180 Medical, press down on the blue handle (gripper) on the catheter tube and move your hand toward yourself to insert the tube into your urethra until it reaches the bladder and your urine starts to flow into the bag. I also have a video showing how to use the MTG EZ-Gripper®, if you'd like to learn more about this particular closed system catheter.

I have found that the MTG Eagle™ Board allows for easy catheter insertion because it provides a flat surface to press the catheter against.

180 medical catheterization instructional materials dvd and bookletIf you are newly injured or cannot self-catheterize due to limited hand dexterity, the MTG Eagle™ Board may be a great place to start in order to gain back some of your independence and health! The Eagle™ Board Kit from MTG includes the board, a penile sizing guide, additional foam pads, an Allen wrench, and a carry bag for your convenience.

For more information about how to cath, 180 Medical's catheter specialists are ready to help you find the right catheter for your needs and can walk you through the catheterization process, step by step. They also provide handy cathing instructions online for men, women, and children, and they can put an instructional DVD and full-color booklet in your order as well.

All pictures of the MTG Eagle™ Board have been provided courtesy of MTG. You can find more information about this product at their website.



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About the Author:

mason ellis 180 medical blog authorMason Ellis was injured in a car accident on January 19, 2015, which left him with a traumatic brain injury, several broken bones included his jaws, the top six front teeth, and his collarbone. He is now a C5/6/7 quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down. Since his accident, he has connected with others with spinal cord injuries, family members, friends, and caregivers of someone with a spinal cord injury, therapists and doctors, and able-bodied individuals too. Every day, he refuses to let his spinal cord injury defeat him. His motto is to "live life just like I would've able-bodied." 

You can learn more about Mason in his 180 Medical blog feature, or connect with him and others living with spinal cord injuries on his Facebook page or by subscribing to his YouTube Channel.

Verifications Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Summer

by Jessica March 28 2018 04:00
180 medical employee spotlight on summer verifications specialist

180 Medical is a leading supplier in the nation for intermittent catheters and ostomy products. We make it a goal to staff our company with people who truly want to help people and make a difference. 180 Medical is a rewarding workplace for our employees, for many reasons, including competitive benefits, full training to earn the title of a specialist, as well as opportunities for growth and learning within the company.

There are also many fun extras and perks throughout the year that make 180 Medical such a fun place to be every weekday, including our annual Thunder Up decorating contest to show our support for our local NBA Team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as plenty of opportunities to support our community in events like the annual MS Walk. In fact, we've been named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for 8 years as of 2017. 

We're happy to feature one of our employees who has been with us for two and a half years and currently works as a Verifications Specialist. 

Summer's Team Supervisor, Sarah, says, "Summer is the glue that binds our team together. Her outgoing personality and positive attitude brighten the atmosphere in our department. From her very first day as a Verifications Specialist, she has been 100% committed to doing her best every single day. Her passion to help others is evident in all that she does. We are truly lucky to have her on our team!" 


Summer, congratulations on nearing your 3rd anniversary with our company! What do you feel is the best part of working at 180 Medical?

So many things! Getting to help people on a daily basis is the most rewarding thing, definitely. Also, I genuinely enjoy what I do. I have some independence and get to work without being micromanaged. It feels so good to be given the trust and capability to get our customers taken care of!

Another plus is that I have made some great friends in my co-workers!

I also love our Halloween celebrations. Dressing up in costume for the day at work and getting to take part in our annual pumpkin carving contest is so much fun. One year, we made our hallway a haunted house. We had such a blast decorating it for the yearly contest!


halloween costume contest at 180 medical


Describe your typical day of work as a Verifications Specialist.

It varies from day to day, although the majority of my duties revolve of around verifying insurance for our Medicaid and Medicare customers. I also confirm monthly orders of our customers' catheter supplies and ostomy supplies. Sometimes, I get to be an advocate for our customers and educate them on how receiving home health services may affect their regular orders if they have Medicare.


What do you like to do in your downtime outside of work?


180 medical employee petAfter work, I like to wind down by cooking a nice dinner at least three times a week, going out with my guy, or watching horror flicks with my dog, Coffee. Probably my favorite place to be in the world is with my boyfriend, Andy, and his daughter, Sophia. We just love to play and make each other laugh.

Some of my favorite hobbies include collecting horror memorabilia and attending concerts, movies, and live shows. I'm a big fan of brunch, so I love going to local restaurants in Oklahoma City like Cafe Cacao and Sunnyside.

I'm very passionate about volunteering to help others in need. It just feels good to help. Some of my favorite charities are Americorps, the Humane Society, and Habitat for Humanity.



180 medical employee quote about volunteering


How has working at 180 Medical helped with your professional development?

summer 180 medical employeeWhen I first started at 180 Medical, I was hired on as a Billing Specialist. I'm really proud of being chosen among the applicants to further my knowledge and increase my work experience as a Verifications Specialist. 180 Medical has been such an integral part of my career development, because I've learned so many new skills along the way. Being a part of our awesome Billing department has been a big asset to my current position, because it taught me how to handle calls, and it also honed my eye for detail, which is important as a Verifications Specialist.

Overall, this company has been so wonderful. 180 Medical has taught me that hard work, integrity, and compassion really does pay off. 



And finally, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying for a job with 180 Medical? 

Don't worry. Just do it! If you're empathetic and you care about helping people, this is the place for you.


Summer, thanks so much for all you do! You're an indispensable part of our team!


If you want to love what you do and work at a place where you are a valued employee, check out our currently available positions and apply today!

180 medical is hiring


180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.

 

The Connection Between Crohn's Disease & Kidney Stones

by Jessica March 21 2018 06:38
crohn's disease and kidney stones connection


If you have Crohn's Disease, you probably already know this particular form of inflammatory bowel disease can produce many different side effects ranging from mild to severe as well as other accompanying medical conditions. 

What many people may not realize is that one of the little known but more common side effects of Crohn's Disease is the development of kidney stones.


What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

If you develop kidney stones, you will know it fairly quickly. 

kidney stones graphicSome of the most common symptoms of kidney stones include the following:

  • Intense pain in the sides, lower back, or abdomen beneath the ribs
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Cloudy and/or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • General malaise
Kidney stones are a serious health complication, so it's very important to consult with your doctor if you begin experiencing any or all of these symptoms. 

Your doctor may recommend increasing your fluid intake and/or taking a pain reliever if the kidney stone is relatively small and can be passed. 

However, if the stone is larger or more spiny, then medical intervention like surgery may be necessary.


Why Do People With Crohn's Disease Get Kidney Stones More Often?

There are a number of reasons why people with Crohn's Disease are more likely to get kidney stones.

Kidney stones are formed when there is a decrease in urine volume and an increase in stone-forming substances in the body.

One of the most common causes of kidney stones is malabsorption, which is a condition where the small intestine isn't able to absorb nutrients properly. For example, fat in the small intestine could bind to calcium, causing oxalates (a stone-producing substance) to be released and absorbed into the kidneys.

stay hydratedIn addition, dehydration is a significant risk factor for kidney stones.

Those who suffer from Crohn's Disease are more likely to have symptoms of malabsorption and dehydration. Also, they may have more concentrated urine, which is another risk factor for kidney stones. 

Kidney stones are a serious health concern, due to the pain and discomfort they can cause as well as the potential for blocking the normal flow of urine. This is why we urge you to speak with your treating physician as soon as you notice the warning signs of a kidney stone developing.


Other Complications Associated With Crohn's Disease

Unfortunately, when you have Crohn's Disease, whether mild or severe, this condition can impact your health in a variety of different ways aside from kidney stones.

This may include ulcers, inflammation throughout the digestive tract, malnutrition from lack of vitamin absorption, colon or colorectal cancer, bowel obstruction, and more. It's important to speak with your treating physician about any new or different symptoms that may pop up.

Occasionally, these issues may become so severe that surgery is required to remove or temporarily bypass diseased or obstructed parts of the bowel. This typically leads to a need for colostomy or ileostomy supplies.

At 180 Medical, we carry a wide variety of ostomy products and accessories to assist those who have been impacted by Crohn's Disease to the point of needing ostomy surgery. We'd love the opportunity to help you find the right supplies for your individual needs. Contact us today!


ostomy customer testimonial 180 medical

Elizabeth is Determined to Win the Daily Battle Against Her Disability

by Jessica March 14 2018 06:27
elizabeth 2017 scholarship recipient

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. This year's group of applicants and especially the 2017 recipients are truly inspiring and are living proof of overcoming odds to achieve dreams, so we love getting to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

So far, we've introduced you to four of our seven recipients: MeghaFrankChelsea, and Joseph. We're excited to introduce you to Elizabeth today!


elizabeth inspirational disability quote


Facing the Challenges of Cerebral Palsy

From the start, Elizabeth was extraordinary. She was born two months premature in a set of quadruplet girls. 

For over a year, everything seemed normal, until Elizabeth's parents realized she wasn't sitting up on her own and couldn't crawl or walk like her sisters.

The doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy, which is a condition caused by a lack of oxygen to an infant's brain (asphyxia) during childbirth. There are multiple complications and symptoms that can arise from a condition like Cerebral Palsy, and it's rarely the same for each person affected. Some of the potential symptoms of cerebral palsy may include:

  • Muscle tone variation
  • Seizures and/or tremors
  • Difficult with walking or unusual gait
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor skills
  • Delays in speech development
  • Neurogenic bladder or urinary incontinence
  • Delayed development
Elizabeth has now lived with Cerebral Palsy for almost 24 years, and for her, the condition affects her whole body and many other aspects of her life.

"Thankfully," she says, "I do not have to face this challenge alone."


Finding Joy in Family, Sports, & School

elizabeth at homecomingElizabeth's family has been with her every step of the way since her birth. Although living with Cerebral Palsy does make her somewhat dependent on her family for her daily care, they state that "the joys and opportunities that have come through sharing life with [Elizabeth] far outweigh any sacrifices."

One joy that Elizabeth found at just eight years old is Paralympic Boccia. She found the challenges of the sport perfect for a competitive outlet, and Boccia is perfect for her physical abilities.

Even today, Elizabeth is still actively participating in Boccia, and she competed in the 2017 National Championships most recently.

"I also co-chair the Youth Development Taskforce for Boccia's national organization, USA Boccia. The Taskforce's vision is to expand youth participation in Boccia at the regional and national level," Elizabeth states. 

Despite her condition and her avid participation in Boccia, she worked hard in school, made excellent grades, and graduated from John Brown University with her Bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies. Her time in college strengthened her passion to help others, particularly at the policy level of social work. 

During her time at school, she finally got to experience living apart from her family and having assisting staff for her daily care and needs, which was another step toward the independence that Elizabeth craves, although she is grateful beyond words for her family's unending support. 


Working To Become a Leader in Social Change

Currently, Elizabeth is now completing her Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois, and she is beyond thrilled to be able to start on this new adventure and continue her preparations for her career through higher education. 

She plans to concentrate on Leadership and Social Change. When talking about why she chose this field, Elizabeth is excited and hopeful. 

"I value social work, because it is an opportunity to truly meet people where they are and empower them to fulfill their potential by offering new skills and resources. With my degree, I seek to impact the disability service system in our country, advocating for the dignity and well-being of all people across the spectrum of ability," Elizabeth says. 

Even though Elizabeth faces a daily battle, she says she refuses to allow Cerebral Palsy to become a prison or limit her in any way. She is determined to use her own experiences to make a difference in others' lives. 


elizabeth motivational quote 180 medical scholarship recipient 2017


We are all certain that with her drive and dedication, she will go far in improving the lives of others living with disabilities, and we wish her the best of luck in her future goals!


About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know that there can often be extra financial hardship heaped on students who live with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those aspiring students work toward achieving their dreams.

We're accepting applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Program now through June 1, 2018! You can download an application and get full information at www.180medical.com/scholarships.


180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


 

180 Medical Celebrates Employee Appreciation Day

by Jessica March 8 2018 06:38
employee appreciation day 2018


Every first Friday in March is annual Employee Appreciation Day. It's a day specifically created for companies to honor and thank their employees for all they do throughout the year, and 180 Medical is always excited to celebrate this special day.

When 180 Medical was founded by Todd Brown, he wanted to create a medical supply company that would be able to provide top-quality intermittent catheters and ostomy products and turn our customers' lives around.

180 medical manager quote employee appreciation day His vision for 180 Medical centered around staffing honorable, hard-working people who truly care about our customers. 

We wouldn't be able to provide the top-quality service that 180 Medical is known for without our staff of compassionate and diligent employees, so we love to make sure they know they are truly appreciated for all they do, day in and day out.

This year, we all had a blast celebrating Employee Appreciation Day with a Spring Break Luau theme.

Over the course of not just one but two full days in a row, 180 Medical had plenty of fun activities and surprises for all of our amazing employees! 

On Thursday morning, our employees came to work to find a full breakfast buffet waiting for them in our brightly decorated main break room. There were donuts, a full range of specialty coffees, and even freshly made pancakes that were cooked and served fresh by our great managers and supervisors. 



employee appreciation day at 180 medical


The fun didn't stop there! There were plenty more surprises to come over the course of two days, including an afternoon snack cart full of drinks and goodies for each employee to choose from, movies playing in the break rooms, and even a huge, heartfelt cheer and greeting of all employees right at the front door.

180 medical employee quote on employee appreciation dayNate, one of our team supervisors, says, "Being on the other side of Employee Appreciation Day this year as a supervisor is absolutely a one-of-a-kind experience. It gives us a chance to give back to our employees when they give so much every day. Our demonstrations of gratitude around Employee Appreciation Day is just a fraction of all they deserve for their hard work. I really hope we were able to brighten their day!"

We're so proud of our employees for working hard and displaying "the 180 Way" in all they do. Because of them, 180 Medical is able to take care of each one of our customers just as we would do for a member of our own family.

After an astonishing 8 years of being named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma, which is awarded partly based on anonymous employee feedback, we believe we can say our employees really do feel appreciated year-round and not just one day annually. 

Are you looking for a job where you can make a difference and truly say you love what you do? We're hiring!

Check out our currently available positions and find out more about 180 Medical at our Careers page.


join 180 medical team


180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.

The Link Between Urinary Incontinence & Depression in Women

by Jessica February 17 2018 00:22
urinary incontinence and depression in women link

Being afraid to sneeze or laugh too hard...rushing to make it to the restroom in time...worrying about leakage...

These probably sound like familiar concerns if you're one of the 13 million people in the United States who live with urinary incontinence.

When you have urinary incontinence, fears like this are normal. However, you may find that your mood has persistently worsened over time, and you may be dealing with feelings of sadness or hopelessness that are hard if not impossible to shake off.

Although a healthcare professional will need to see you in order to properly diagnose you and get you started on a treatment plan that gets your life turned back around and back on track, it's very possible that you could be suffering from depression related to incontinence.

Still, we understand you probably want answers now before you schedule an appointment to see your doctor, and 180 Medical has the need-to-know info about incontinence and depression. We've also included some helpful resources and support options in this blog. Read on to learn more!


Who Is Affected By Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone at any age, but studies show that women experience urinary incontinence twice as much as men do.

Why is that? The main factor is the pelvic anatomy of women and how it differs from that of men, as well as hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause. 


Other potential causes of female incontinence may include:

  • Bladder muscle weakness
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Urinary tract infections, which can increase the urge the void your bladder and sometimes cause leakage
  • Being over the healthy weight for your body type and height
  • A medical condition from birth like spina bifida, which can also affect the bladder, depending upon severity
  • Side effects from certain medicines
  • Drinking diuretic liquids like coffee, tea, and colas
  • Certain neurological disorders

Women are also more susceptible to UTIs (urinary tract infections) and bladder infections, and this can sometimes worsen incontinence. This is because UTIs tend to increase the urge to void the bladder, sometimes involuntarily.

The additional risk of infections in women is also due to anatomy. The vagina, urethra, and anus are positioned more closely together on the female body, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra.


depression in females with urinary incontinence

Can Urinary Incontinence Cause Depression?

As mentioned earlier, there actually is a strong link between urinary incontinence and depression, particularly in younger women. A recent paper published by researchers took a look at this connection and tried to find out the causes as well as what could be done to treat both conditions. 

One potential cause identified could be weight gain and/or childbirth, which are both commonly related to urinary incontinence as well as depression (particularly postpartum depression in the case of new mothers). The reason for this is that when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, whether due to bearing a child, gaining weight, or other conditions, it can make it more difficult to tighten the muscles that close off the sphincter of the bladder, and this can result in mild to excessive leakage or dribbling of urine.

Another reason may be related to societal stigma regarding disorders affecting the bladder and bowels. People living with incontinence may feel like they're totally alone, or they may experience shame or embarrassment about their condition.

The research ultimately concluded that more must be done to educate women on prevention and treatment options for incontinence as well as depression. 


Treatment of Incontinence and Depression

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence and/or feelings of depression, we want to assure you that there is nothing to feel ashamed of. Millions of other people are going through this too, and even if you feel some embarrassment addressing these conditions with your doctor, they will not judge or shame you in any way. Healthcare professionals want to help their patients heal and find proper treatment plans in order to improve your condition and your overall quality of life.

Treatments depend on your personal medical history as well as the severity and type of symptoms you're experiencing.

Your doctor may also want you to record a bladder diary for several days or weeks as well, which may sound like a pain, but they may be able to provide you with an easy-to-use booklet in which to record your symptoms, when and how often you're urinating or having accidents, and other information.

urinary incontinence bladder diary appThere are also some helpful smartphone apps, such as UroBladderDiary, which may be easier for you to use. Recording this kind of information in an app rather than a written journal can also be a real help if you want to keep your symptoms private from those around you. 

While it may seem daunting right now, the sooner you can schedule an appointment with your doctor, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.

Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, there is light ahead.


Helpful Resources and Support

A few resources and options for support, both online and in-person, can definitely be useful when you're not sure where to go next for information. 

These links may be helpful in your journey back to wellness
:

Incontinence Support Center: A Caring Community
This website has helpful articles as well as an online forum where you can talk to other women who are experiencing the same symptoms as you are.

Daily Strength Urinary Incontinence Support Group
Connect online with others living with urinary incontinence and other bladder issues. You can find support, encouragement, and tips from fellow women living with incontinence.

Find a Therapist through Psychology Today
Just enter your city or zip code, and you will be provided with a list of local mental health professionals and counselors to whom you can reach out. This site also has options to list local support groups and treatment centers. 

ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) Support Groups Near You

Find free support groups near you. This helpful website also offers facts about depression and anxiety, tips on how to deal with your feelings, and more.

Postpartum Support International
Learn more about life after having a child, including postpartum depression and potential therapy options. You also have options to call a support line and chat with a mental health expert, join an online support group for other women living with postpartum depression, and more. 

Crisis Text Line
This free support is available 24 hours a day, every day, for those in crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor can respond and text with you on a secure platform and help you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Sometimes depression and feelings of hopelessness can become so severe that you don't feel like there is any other way out of your problems, but there always is. You can visit this website, or if you need someone to speak with immediately, simply call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of day, and someone can speak with you.


Intermittent Catheterization As Incontinence Treatment

treat your incontinence and depressionIf your doctor determines that something as simple as intermittent catheterization can help treat your urinary incontinence, our Catheter Specialists at 180 Medical are always ready to lend you a compassionate ear and walk you through your first experience of getting the right female catheter products for your individual needs. 

You will never be shamed or made to feel embarrassed when you speak with anyone at 180 Medical. This is our specialty, and we speak to many people of all ages and genders who require the use of intermittent catheters, ostomy products, and other related medical supplies.

Our goal is to help turn your life around, so we'll do what we can to make the experience of getting your catheters and other female incontinence supplies as easy and worry-free as possible. 

With the right resources and support behind you, you could be feeling like your old self again soon! If you're experiencing symptoms of incontinence or depression, it's a great idea to get the ball rolling by calling your doctor to schedule an appointment to diagnose your symptoms today.



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Documentation Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Christa

by Jessica February 13 2018 08:58
180 medical documentation specialist employee spotlight

As one of the leading suppliers in America for intermittent catheters and ostomy products, 180 Medical makes it a goal to seek out and hire people who truly have a compassionate heart and want to help others. If you're seeking a career where you can actually enjoy going to work, and you want to be rewarded and fulfilled by what you do, day in and day out, you should consider applying for one of our available jobs.

What are just a few of the reasons to work at 180 Medical? We offer a competitive benefits package, extensive training and opportunity for growth within the company, and many fun extras and perks. We were also named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for the 8th year in 2017. 

Now, we want to introduce you to one of our employees who has been with us for two years now. Today, meet Christa, one of our team of awesome Documentation Specialists. 


What are some of your daily tasks as a Documentation Specialist here?

When we receive over new referrals from a facility or when a customer is ready to start getting their orders through 180 Medical, we want to do our part in assisting the customer by making sure their insurance will cover their required medical supplies. Often, I'm the first person to contact them to confirm their insurance information before getting their coverage verified.

Because the products we supply usually require a prescription, I'm also responsible for making sure we have a good prescription on file from their doctor. I also make sure we have all of the proper documentation that we might need, such as additional progress notes, depending on the customer's insurance requirements.


What is the best part of working at 180 Medical for you?

Well, in a lot of ways, it helped me step outside of my comfort zone. Before 180 Medical, I have mostly worked at small companies with less than 10 people. This was a nice change.

But more than anything else, getting to help people on a daily basis is the most rewarding thing. I also love my co-workers, and I feel that I have made some great friends.

Our quarterly meetings are always fun, and I also love that we have opportunities for other fun activities. My family and I had a blast at the Family Movie Night last summer, and we also really enjoyed getting to participate in the annual MS Walk.

180 medical ms walk 2017



Tell us a little bit more about life outside of work. What do you love to do in your downtime? 

180 medical employee christaSomething fun people might not know about me is that I really enjoy refinishing old furniture that has been passed down in my family. I make wooden signs with quotes by hand too. Lately, I've been coloring almost every night. It's very relaxing!

I've been married for 12 years! We have a daughter who is almost 15 and a son who is almost 11 now. We love doing anything outdoors together, whether that's going camping, going to the lake and spending time at our lake house, or just playing catch in the backyard. It doesn't matter what we're doing; we just love being together outside!


What's something special on your bucket list?

I only had one thing on my bucket list, and I got to cross that off when I finally saw Garth Brooks live in concert! Now, I'm trying to figure out what else to put on it. I've always wanted to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show live.


What's an accomplishment that you're most proud of at 180 Medical?

Being awarded as one of the Top Team Performers recently at a quarterly meeting!

180 medical employee awards top team performers



What's a quote that keeps you inspired?
"Love is forgiveness." This is also the tattoo I have on my arm.


And lastly, what advice would you give to someone who might be considering applying for a job with 180 Medical? 

Do it!! Not only are you helping people be able to live their daily lives, but I have never worked with a better company.



Christa, thank you so much for taking time to talk. We're so grateful for you and the awesome team of Documentation Specialists here at 180 Medical.

Are you interested in becoming a part of the 180 Medical family? Don't wait! Apply today.

180 medical is hiring


180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.

 

3 Types of Female Catheters

by Jessica February 6 2018 06:25
3 female catheter types

If your doctor has recommended intermittent catheterization as part of your treatment plan (whether due to bladder retention, urinary incontinence, multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, or another medical condition that affects the way your bladder works), you may be feeling overwhelmed by the news and wondering where to start.

We completely understand, and we want to assure you that those feelings are perfectly normal. However, once armed with the right information and the right supplies for you, using female catheters can eventually become second nature to you. 

But first, you may want to learn more about the three main types of female intermittent catheters, so here's our simple guide!

Types of Female Intermittent Catheters

Intermittent catheters are small tubes designed to drain urine from the bladder. These are most often composed of vinyl or PVC, silicone, or red rubber latex, and they are considered single-use only devices, since they are inserted into the body via the urethra. Catheters have come a long way since they were first invented, and innovations in technology continue to roll out with new products that may offer a smoother catheterization experience as well as better discretion and ease of use.

woman with backpack Because the female urethra is only a few inches in length compared to the male urethra, female catheters are typically only 6 to 8 inches long, although there are shorter pocket-sized options. Some women prefer to use male length catheters, and this is based on preference and what works best for you.

Concerned about the catheter tube's diameter? That's a common fear, but there's no need to worry. Your prescribing physician will be able to test French sizes with you and properly determine with you what will work best for your individual anatomy and needs.

The right size will help with overall comfort as well as efficiency in drainage. For example, if you use a smaller female catheter French size than what fits your body best, you may notice urine seeping around the sides of the catheter (rather than only draining into the tube and down to your chosen receptacle, like a collection bag or toilet), which can literally leave a mess on your hands. If you use a larger catheter French size than necessary, you may have some difficulty with insertion, or you could experience some discomfort. Making sure to get the right size prescribed before ordering will be a big component in finding the right catheter for you!

After you and your doctor have discussed size options, you'll want to start thinking about the three main intermittent catheter types available for women. 

what female catheter is right for me


The three main types of intermittent catheters are:


Straight Catheters

Considered the original technology, female length straight intermittent catheters are uncoated and must be manually lubricated prior to insertion. Usually, this is done with individual packets of sterile lubricant, although some prefer using the flip-top tubes of lubricant. These can easily be included with your catheter order, and we can take into account what may be easiest for you to use, including factors like limited hand dexterity.

These are available in just about every material, and there are options both with and without color-coded funnels. This typically comes down to personal preference, but you will need to let your supplier know of any potential allergies, such as latex, as well as any chemicals you may want to avoid like DEHP. Sometimes also known as "in and out" catheters, intermittent catheter tubes are uncoated, so they must be manually lubricated before insertion, typically by individual-use packets of sterile lubrication which can be included in your orders.

Straight female catheters are typically fairly easy to conceal in one's pocket, makeup bag, or purse, and one benefit is that these may feel a little lighter than catheters that include additional insertion supplies or water packets, making them simple to carry or pack in one's luggage for traveling.

female straight uncoated catheters



Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters are similar to straight catheters in many ways, but there's one key feature that makes hydrophilic catheters stand apart from other types. Female hydrophilic catheters have a coating that is activated by water to become slippery, smooth, and ready to use. This coating acts in place of lubricant, so you don't have to worry about carrying along a tube or packets of lubricant with you.

Depending on the brand, some hydrophilic catheters come with their own sterile water packet to burst inside the packaging and let the catheter soak anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute, and then it's ready to use. Others, like the SpeediCath Compact, is pre-packaged in its own sterile saline solution, so as soon as you open up this discreet package (designed to look similar to a makeup item like a tube of mascara or lipstick), your catheter is ready to use and then dispose of easily without muss or fuss once you've drained your bladder.

Most hydrophilic catheter manufacturers feature a handy guiding sleeve to allow you to manipulate the catheter for insertion without touching the tube itself and risking potential contamination from any possible germs left on your hands, even after washing up before use.

female hydrophilic catheters



Closed System Catheters

Female closed system catheters are a convenient option since it's basically an all-in-one system. The catheter itself is pre-lubricated and sterile inside its self-contained collection bag, which eliminates the need to carry additional lubricant, and many brands also have insertion supplies packaged with it as well, such as sterile gloves, an underpad, and antiseptic wipes. Most closed systems also have a pre-lubricated introducer tip that helps to bypass the majority of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra, which further minimizes the risk of infection.

Some people in wheelchairs prefer closed system catheters, since they can sometimes eliminate the need to transfer from your chair to a toilet. Thanks to the self-contained collection bag, you can self-cath anyplace where you have privacy. 

There are options such as gripping aids for those with limited hand dexterity, as well as different materials of catheters, different collection bag sizes, and more. Our Catheter Product Specialists can discuss the different features that may appeal to you or work best for your needs.

female closed system catheters



Since we specialize in catheters as well as ostomy supplies, we carry all the major catheter brands and types, so you have the option to sample what might work best for you, and you have the freedom of choice to pick the brand you prefer.

male intermittent catheter brands


Ultimately, the decision about which type of catheter you should use will come down to your prescribing healthcare professional's assessment of your condition and personal needs. 

180 medical catheter specialist When you're ready to order, 180 Medical is here to serve you and your doctor in helping to select an intermittent catheter that will be easy for you to use while giving you a hygienic, comfortable, and convenient catheterization. 

We are catheter specialists that have been in the business for over fifteen years, and we've helped thousands of women, men, and children find the right catheter supplies. Our goal is to help turn your quality of life around with high-quality catheter products that can restore your confidence and sense of independence. Our catheter specialists will also offer you unparalleled service and a compassionate, listening ear. 

We also offer educational materials like full-color brochures and DVDs offering step-by-step instructions of how to self-cath.

Give us a call at 1-877-688-2729. We'd love the opportunity to discuss your female catheter options with you! 




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180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.