Thursday, June 14, 2012
What are you teaching your child?

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Father's Day is almost here, a day we celebrate just once a year. We often forget the fact that the influence that fathers have lasts far longer than one day a year. I learned many things from my father, things I carry with me all the time. I was raised in a traditional Italian household. My grandparents were all born in Italy. My parents continued with the traditional Italian values which meant that there was nothing more important than family. The importance of family was ingrained in me as I was growing up. I had two sisters who were both younger than me. One thing was very clearly taught. Even though we had our scrapes like most siblings, there was never a reason for me to hit one of my sisters. The lesson was, "you don't ever hit girls." That was indeed a good lesson to take into adulthood. My father was focused on supporting the family which he did by working hard. He had a work ethic that I was proud to have learned and carried with me through the years. This work ethic was especially effective when it came to being on call. It taught me that the most important thing I had to pay attention to was the needs of my patients. That meant many after hours visits that might not have been necessary but were the right thing to do. My father was one of those individuals who would give you the shirt off his back. Every time we wondered where he had gone to, we would usually find him helping one of our neighbors. I suspect it was this kind of behavior that led me into medicine. I could formally help people every day the same way that he helped others. Most of us have similar traits that we learned from our fathers. In most cases those traits are as positive as the traits I learned from my father. There are some negative things that we get from our parents as well. The goal is to learn from those things. My father did not exercise and he was overweight. His cholesterol was high (but we didn't treat it in those days). He had high blood pressure. In those days we treated it sporadically only when it went up after the medication was stopped. As a result he had a heart attack and died at the age 61. As a result, I learned that I was at high risk of having a heart attack at that age. I was able to control all four of those factors. The result is that I am now four years past that age. I would have preferred not to have learned that particular lesson. However, it was an important one for me to learn. The key question we need to ask ourselves is not so much what we learned from our fathers. It is more what are we teaching our children. When they are young, it is hard to tell what those things are. As they get older it becomes more obvious. Unfortunately, by the time they get older, it is too late to teach those lessons. For that reason, those of us who are fathers need to look at Father's Day a little differently. Instead of passively, taking thanks from our children, we need to ask ourselves if the lessons we taught our children since last Father's Day were the right ones. We need to ask ourselves if we are on the right track for the next year which will allow us to celebrate not just being a father but being a good father as well.

Parent Coffee Hour Autism Delaware will hold a free parent coffee hour at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 28, at the Holiday Inn Express in Seaford. For details, visit or call Autism Delaware at 302-644-3410.

Space available at Camp New Hope Delaware Hospice has spaces available at Camp New Hope, which will be held from July 10-13, at Trap Pond for Sussex County, for children and teens ages 6 to 17, who have suffered the recent loss of a loved one. The New Hope program, including Camp New Hope, is a free community outreach program. This inspirational day camp takes place over four days, connecting children in similar age groups in order to help them process their feelings of loss and grief. Learn more about Camp New Hope by contacting New Hope Coordinator for Sussex County, Angela Turley, at 856-7717, ext. 3104, or

Stewards of Children presentation Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is hosting a Stewards of Children Presentation on "How to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse." This training session will take place on Wednesday, June 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Cost of the session is $10 per person to cover the cost of course materials. Stewards of Children is a primary prevention, sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Provided is a three hour training. The program is presented by an authorized facilitator. An interactive workbook and accompanying video are utilized to share the message that adults are accountable for the safety of children. To register or for more information, contact Kathy at 629-6611, ext. 3910.

First aid classes at Nanticoke Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants ages 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing, and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact the hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other week beginning Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

PHC launches home safety program When an emergency strikes in the home, panic can take over. The patient often is not in the right frame of mind to provide critical health information to responding emergency personnel. Yet, treating a patient in the home requires that EMS crews know the patient's medical history and medication information. To help, Peninsula Home Care is launching its new Home Health Safety Program, Find Facts on Fridge. The initiative includes the distribution of refrigerator magnets with business card size pockets to any "at-risk" homebound patient. The pockets on the magnets hold medical history and medication cards developed and provided by Peninsula Home Care. "Due to the intensity of emergency situations, the challenge our first responders face when entering the home is collecting critical health information on the patient," said Captain David Insley, Emergency Medical Services. "Something as simple as a refrigerator magnet that holds medical history information and a list of medications the patient is taking will help EMS crews better respond to the needs of the patient and can ultimately save lives." The campaign also includes education and resources to "at-risk" patients in the community on common health issues (stroke, congestive heart failure, falls and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is being held at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, at the Seaford Library. The free support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Healthier You Recipe Contest Nanticoke Health Services and the Western Sussex Farmers Market are looking for your heart-healthy recipes that use local seasonal produce. On Saturday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m., three lucky entries will be prepared and shared at the Western Sussex Farmers Market (located at the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club) and one will win a gift basket worth $100 courtesy of Nanticoke Health Services. All recipes will be evaluated on originality of the recipe, use of seasonal produce, being "heart healthy," texture, visual appearance and taste. Also, visit the Western Seaford Farmers Market each week to pick up Chef George's "Recipe of The Week." The recipe contest submission deadline is June 20. For complete contest rules, e-mail or call 629-6611, ext. 8948.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.