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Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center

The FWCOC Resource Center is a way for members to use their gifts and talents to serve God and mankind. All resources and activities listed on the site are provided FREE of charge to residents of the greater Houston area. If you are wondering how we can offer these services free, the answer lies at the heart of what we understand as God’s directive for our lives. "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10).  The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief is our way of providing a profile of Ministries at Work.

The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief - Health and Wellness Ministry

Wellness Today: How to Stay out of the Emergency Room, Part II - Laboratory Test Results Review for Next Steps and COVID-19 Updates

Should we rely completely on healthcare professionals to interpret our laboratory test results using baseline standards? Do we understand laboratory results, or simply accept the results? How can we be students of our own health by studying these test results, and how they may impact our personal encounters?   These are valid questions about laboratory screenings; however, we should stop and take a moment to review our direction. Then, we should do what we can to optimize our health and wellness plans based on what can be done safely. Plans should include reviewing required laboratory screenings, prescriptions, and planning for next steps.

What do you do when you get laboratory test results?

During this COVID-19 pandemic, consider allocating time to review your wellness plans, so you can determine if you are up-to-date on laboratory screenings and health checks, or if you have missed any. This is also a good time to take a closer look at your medical history and needs.  To help you understand your options related to laboratory test results, let’s review a scenario that focuses on a yearly physical examination. It is important to schedule a physical examination and laboratory tests annually, and the steps below are key points to consider.

Steps in a typical annual physical examination:

Step 1: Expect these common questions from your physician (or nurse or other practitioner performing checks) before the exam: How you are doing, feeling, and are there any associated problems with your health? Is there anything else I should know before your exam is performed? This is when you want to respond and be as accurate as possible, regardless of how small or irrelevant you may think it is.  Something small could lead to further questions from your physician.

Step 2: Based on your responses and the physical exam in the first step, the physician will determine which lab tests you need this year and then will typically review your past results (if they have them). Some physicians may try to forgo bloodwork if your results have been the same for at least the last five years. This is when you should step in and request a complete lab order, including bloodwork. Even if your test results have been consistent from year to year, anything could have changed during the most recent year. Also, if you have a family history of specific medical conditions, ask your doctor for additional tests based on this history. If you have questions about other tests, ask your physician during the visit.

Step 3: The last step is preparing for the actual laboratory tests and providing the samples. Try to have your tests completed on the same day as your physical, so you’ll get the results shortly afterwards. Once the results are back, request a copy (or download the results from your physician’s medical portal). Take time to review the data and discuss your ranges (or schedule a follow-up visit) with your physician to get his or her feedback on the tests.

These three quick steps will help you understand your medical issues, which may reduce your chances of having an emergency medical situation. However, if you do find yourself in the emergency room, you may need another round of tests if your records are not readily available, unless you bring your records with you. Remember, every test done in an emergency room can be ordered by your personal physician in a setting where you can ask questions and do your research.

The COVID-19 pandemic

In late April 2020, an order was issued for Harris County residents to wear face coverings (over the mouth and nose) while in public (Source: Harriscountytx.gov). The State of Texas also issued an updated plan on next steps for reopening  various  businesses and institutions and expanding on previous recommendations.  Some residents may question why COVID-19 is causing such havoc and whether masks are needed. There have been other airborne viruses, but rules have never been this stringent.  So, why now? These are valid points, and we know viruses can make people sick.  However, it is  important for the average science novice to understand the foundational aspects of a virus. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a virus is an infectious agent (pathogen, sometimes referred to as a "parasite") that occupies a place near the boundary between the living (biotic-humans, animals, plants) and the nonliving (abiotic-rocks, metals, plastics, processed wood materials) and cannot reproduce by itself.
 
Viruses are particles much smaller than a bacterial cell and consist of a small genome (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. Viruses enter living host cells and hijack the enzymes and materials of the host cells to replicate (make more copies of themselves). Once it infects a cell, a virus can direct the cell components to replicate. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, but vaccines are, as are some antiviral treatments (Source: CDC.gov).
 
You may be asking yourself, "This is an accurate scientific summary, but what does it have to do with me being on lockdown?" First and foremost, to understand the implications of viruses, you have to understand how the human body functions. The flows in the body go through several levels in this order: chemical, cellular, tissue, and organ, leading to a body system (respiratory, integumentary [skin], skeletal, etc.). Systems work together to keep the body in equilibrium (often referred to as "homeostasis").

When a virus enters the body, it must reach a cell to disrupt its function and start to replicate. All the while, the body’s immune response is fighting this viral invasion, trying to kill it. Viruses must have a living cell to replicate; thus, the problem.
 
As of April 2020, there was no known vaccine or proven antiviral treatment for humans, so the focus of trying to control COVID-19 has been on stopping the virus from entering cells, replicating, and causing disruption. If it does enter a cell, the infected person will recover using their body’s defense mechanisms, or their systems will start to fail, shut down, and the person may succumb to the disease based on the initial viral invasion. This is why it’s important to stop the spread by not allowing the virus to obtain another host and to continue replicating, especially in the case of immune-compromised individuals.
 
Social distancing and face coverings are used as ways of mitigating the spread (airborne droplets to others and/or surfaces) of the virus to cells in another host and to prevent the virus from replicating.  However, these methods have had secondary implications for businesses, institutions, and other places that allow large gatherings, many, or most, of which have had to close (or scale down) during the pandemic.  Until treatment options catch up, regions reach herd immunity, or a vaccine is produced, this is the recommended way to control the spread.  We should do our part, be knowledgeable, do our research, listen, stay informed—and let God take care of the rest. (To be continued in “Wellness Today: How to Stay out of the Emergency Room, Part III – Problems Impacting People of Color, Demystified and COVID-19 Updates)

Exodus 16:4-5, 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." (Source: Bible – New American Standard (NASB))

Ministry: Health and Wellness.

Coordinator(s) and/or Volunteer(s): Leroy Mobley, Dr. Hank Malone, Karl Spencer. 

Ministry In-Brief Administrator and Volunteer(s): Karl Spencer, Yolonda Gaines.

Location: Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center.

Ministry In-Brief Archive:

Adobe PDF File Format

MS-PowerPoint File Format 

Resource Center Highlights

The Goals and Vision of the center are to:

(1) Offer quality resources that contribute to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of local community residents and the Greater Houston Area;

(2) Provide an opportunity for every desiring member to use their particular gifts in service to God and mankind;

(3) Cultivate a community of believers who support and encourage one another, and who ultimately bring glory to God; and

(4) Create opportunities to share the goods news of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.

Some services require pre-registration or accompaniment by a member. Space is limited.  Call or email us for additional information.  Tel: 713-672-2654, Email: [email protected]