Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Ask, then act

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One summer during my college years, I had a roommate who suffered from suicidal thoughts. She’d attempted suicide before we met, and been hospitalized, but continued to struggle. Back in the late 80s, there was very little public understanding of mental health issues, and the stigma was even stronger than it is today. Our other roommate and I didn’t know what to do, or where to turn. 
Not surprisingly, we didn’t handle it well. 
However, we did one thing right: we restricted access to lethal means. We secured the knives, and took control of her medications. Back before Prozac, the best treatments were lethal if used to overdose. 
It’s tempting to view people with mental illness as somehow different from the rest of us. On some level, I think we expect that to mean we can’t be affected. We want to believe it won’t touch us. 
However, suicide crosses all boundaries. Anyone can develop suicidal thoughts, so everyone needs to be able to recognize the danger signs, and know what to do. 
Risk factors for suicide include a previous suicide attempt, a family history of suicide, and a personal or family history of mental illness or substance use. Living with chronic pain or having experienced violence or abuse in the family are also significant risks. Other stressful life events, such as incarceration, a job loss, a break up, or bullying, make a difference as well. 
There are often, although not always, warning signs. Watch for talk about being a burden, about feeling hopeless or worthless, about unbearable pain, and about death. There may be mood swings, anger or anxiety, withdrawal from loved ones or activities, or unusual risk taking. Sometimes the signs are more dramatic. There may be overt talk of suicide and actions that suggest preparation for death: saying goodbye, giving away treasured possessions, drafting a will. A person might research methods of suicide and take steps to implement a plan, such as buying a gun. Don’t consider talk of suicide to be a bid for attention. It is a cry for help. 
Of course, recognizing risk isn’t enough. We need to know what to do. The first step is to ask the question: Are you thinking about suicide? Asking won’t “plant the seed.” It’s ok, in fact it is crucial, to ask. Try to keep the person safe by reducing access to means of suicide. Listen, and try to understand what they are thinking and feeling. Connect them to help, via the crisis line or another source of support and assistance. Stay in touch. 
Emily, if you ever read this, your life matters. I wish we’d understood how to show you that.
Debra Johnson, M.D. is part of The Prairie Doc® team of physicians and currently practices family medicine. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org.

DOC

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Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Listen to your Gut

People often talk about having a “gut feeling” when they know something is wrong. What feelings come when there is something wrong with the digestive system itself and how do you differentiate between “butterflies” acting up and a serious gastrointestinal... [More]

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Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Keeping on the sunny side of life

After a visit about aches, pains and various medical issues, a patient was commenting on getting older. Similar to other patients, I expected him to say something like, “It’s no fun getting older.” To my surprise, the patient said, “I’m 85. That... [More]

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Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Aspirin: Is it right for you?

For most people, taking a daily 81 mg aspirin to prevent stroke and heart attack is more risky than beneficial.  Aspirin has been in use as a pharmaceutical for over 150 years making it one of our oldest.  One might assume with all this experience we would know exactly... [More]

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Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Aspirin: Back to school with allergy and asthma

For students with allergies and asthma, back to school means more than getting their backpacks filled with paper, pencils, and any needed odds and ends. Keeping your child safe and healthy involves creating a proactive plan to be implemented both at home and at school. Allergy... [More]

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Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Aspirin: Health promotion and personal safety

The annual wellness exam is one of my favorite things to do as a doctor. It's a chance to talk about one of my passions: health promotion. As most patients expect, our health promotion discussion includes smoking cessation, diet, and exercise. Perhaps more surprising is our conversation... [More]

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Myths associated with urinary incontinence

As a practicing urologist who is double board certified in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, I see a lot of patients with urinary incontinence. And while it is extremely common, many myths surround the topic. Sadly, even though more patients in the... [More]

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - West Nile, the key is prevention

One late summer day, fresh out of residency and seeing patients for the first time as a full-fledged family physician, I examined a young man who had a fever, fatigue, and a bad headache. Considering the time of year, influenza was low on the list of possibilities, and COVID-19... [More]

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Cancer screening saved my life - Twice

As a physician with 45 years of practice, I’ve seen my share of diseases. I have usually been on the physician side of the diagnosis-treatment paradigm. However, knowing the rationale for diagnostic screening tests, I fortunately did not shirk my own. Testing too much or... [More]

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COURT

Michele Howell Makes First Appearance on Arson Charges

Michele Howell appeared in Wallace County District Court on Wednesday, April 7th in person via zoom meeting.  Her court appointed attorney Justin Barrett, Colby opted not to appear with his client for her first appearance. Wallace County Attorney Charles Moser appeared on... [More]

Margheim and Schippers Sentenced in Wallace County District Court

Jake Wilson Margheim appeared in Wallace County District Court on November 12th, 2020 for sentencing in case number 17 CR 33.  Margheim had been charged with 1 count of unlawful possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a level 4 drug felony, on January 28, 2017.  Margheim... [More]

Traffic Court July-December 2020

Elmer Nelson of Lamar, CO was fined $93 plus court costs on 9/3/2020 - cited driving 73 mph in a 55 mph zone on 1/18/1994 by WACOSO. Kathleen Brammer of Grain Valley, MO was fined $69 plus court costs on 9/10/20250 – cited driving 79 mph in a 65 mph zone on 10/05/2018 by... [More]

Small Claims Court Proceedings

Case number 2020-SC-2 D Walker Concrete, LLC vs Jory Parks. On June 15th, 2020 (plaintiff) D Walker Concrete LLC filed claim against (defendant) Jory Parks, DBA Heartcross Ranch Designs LLC in the amount of $1150.25 for concrete delivered, plus $15 for sheriff service and $67.50... [More]

District Court Sentencings

Rolando Gonzales appeared in Wallace County District Court on January 12, 2020 for sentencing in case number 2019-CR-10 with court appointed attorney Christopher Rohr of Colby, Kans. On February 13, 2019, Gonzales had been found guilty of count 1 Possession of a Controlled Substance,... [More]

Traffic Court March - June

Skyler Jacob Adams Urban, Goodland Kans, transporting an open container, purchase/possession/comume by minor. Deferred adjudication, 12 months. Court Costs $108. William M Dysart, Jr., Weatherford, Okla, driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone, Fined $87, court cost $108.  Shane... [More]

Wallace County District Court Proceedings

Rene Trevino appeared in Wallace County District Court on October 2, 2019 for sentencing in case number 2019 CR 12.  Trevino had been charged with 1 Count Domestic Battery, a Class B, Person Misdemeanor on September 7, 2019.  He appeared in court with court-appointed... [More]

Traffic Court for January and February

Catherine Elizabeth Capra, Pleasant Hill, Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred, court costs $108. Justin Blake Meyer, St. Francis, Kans, liquor purchased by minor, nolo contendre, fined $200, court costs $239. Transporting an open container, guilty plea, fined $200.... [More]

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NEWS

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Snapshots from 2022 Weskan Days

Snapshots from 2022 Weskan Days

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Hansen Museum to Celebrate 50th Anniversary in October

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, the Hansen Museum is celebrating 50 years of bringing art and culture to the people of Northwest Kansas with an afternoon celebration.  The party starts with a nostalgic presentation by Hansen Museum Board Member, Debra Berg at 2:00 p.m. in... [More]

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KDOT set to receive $39.5M for next five years to build EV charging infrastructure

The Kansas Department of Transportation’s Charge Up Kansas NEVI Plan has been approved and is set to receive $39.5 million total over the next five years under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The plan provides KDOT federal funds to help... [More]

6th Grade

Hi! My name is Charlotte and I’m going to tell you all about 6th Grade. 6th Grade has been tough, and it’s been good at times, but other times it's bad. Sometimes it’s so fun, like when we played trash basketball and how we are doing a virtual escape room on... [More]

Bloom - Just B

Have you ever seen one of those quote boards? It’s usually a frame that includes white letters you push into recessed horizontal tracks to create phrases. I’ve seen these boards announcing births, advertising sales, and used as home décor. One time, while Black... [More]

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True Crime Exhibit includes In Cold Blood murders

The True Crime Exhibit incorporates evidence, artifacts and information showing how local and area law enforcement officers solved the crime spree of the Fleagle Gang, bank robbers and murderers of the 1920s who were once as widely known as Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, Bonnie... [More]

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Dotsero to perform at Oakley High School

Dotsero-- to music fans worldwide, this name translates to “a no- nonsense thrill ride of energy and excitement”, a band full of life, energy, and spontaneity, who will perform for WPAA’s second program of the season. The five-member band, originating in Denver,... [More]

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DAR Presents US Flag to Sharon Springs 4th Grade

Mrs. Hennick accepted the flag which was provided by Senator Jerry Moran’s office.  This flag flew over the State Capitol in May.  The students also received goody bags with a pencil, flag pin, and a booklet on how to properly care for the flag.  Pictured... [More]

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BUGLE NOTES

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Bugle Notes - 9/17/22

The Fort Wallace Museum has just completed a big weekend of activities, which in spite of small challenges, was a success. Our 2022 History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days had the theme of “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail, “ and brought in local historians... [More]

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Fort Wallace Museum to Host History Exposition

Don’t miss this weekend’s History Exposition and Outdoor Education Day “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail!” On Friday and Saturday, the grounds will be filled with demonstrations of telegraphy, oxen, printing press, bugle calls, Cheyenne Ledger... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 9/1/22

Our big History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days are approaching on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10! This year’s theme is “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail,” with exhibits on telegraph, telephone, military communication, bugle calls, Plains... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 8/25/22

We hope you have marked your calendars for the upcoming History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days at the Fort Wallace Museum, coming up Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10! Our grounds will be filled with demonstrators exploring “Communication Along the Smoky Hill... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 8/18/22

We are excited about our upcoming History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days for 2022! With this year’s theme of “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail,” we are offering a different twist to our demonstrations and guests. Our two-day event (Friday Sept... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 7/14/22

The Museum was filled with activity the week of July 5-8 as we hosted 15 local youth for our first History Day Camp! Six professional educators, led by FWMA Board Member Brenda Tropf, led exploration by 15 4th-8th Graders as we learned about the Robidoux and Madigan General Stores,... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 6/30/22

The summer travel season is rolling along at the Fort WALLACE Museum! In spite of high gas prices, people are indeed traveling along Highway 40, including international travelers from such locations as Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands.  Our History Day Camp for grades... [More]

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Bugle Notes - 5/26/22

Memorial Day Weekend 2022 approaches and that means that things are about to get busy in Wallace! The 68th Fort Wallace Rodeo will have its Saturday performance on May 28th at 7 pm MDT at the Rodeo Grounds just east of Wallace. The Sunday performance is at a special time - 5... [More]

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