Friday, January 28, 2011

Through The Eyes of My Dog

Ok, yes. I am a dog lover. I have three of them. I am amazed at how they never fail to greet me at the door when I come home and they never fail to greet me in the morning.

If only everyone saw things like my dogs do . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Three Reasons Obamacare Is Bad For the Nation

Former white collar undercover FBI agent, Representative Michael Grimm explains why Obamacare will hurt our nation and why it should be repealed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Colon Cleansing? Yea, Right.

I had a few patients ask about an article I read published on the Men's Health blog today: "Ashton Kutcher's Plan to Survive the Apocalypse." I had to laugh. It's quite entertaining to read about his plans to thwart the apocalypse with colon cleansing. 
I'm not quite sure how cleansing your colon will protect you from the apocalypse, at least the the apocalypse I envision and have read about in the Bible's Book of Revelations.  Either way, there's only one problem with colon cleansing including the Master Cleanse diet. Colon cleansing is a sham.  Yes, a sham. 
The body was designed to clean itself and to heal itself, especially the colon and liver. There is a constant turnover of colon cells and liver cells each week and each month.  There is no need to plug yourself full of "detoxifiers" or use a combination of  "fresh lemon juice, rich maple syrup, and cayenne pepper into pure water" (Master Cleanse recipe) acting as a laxative to cleans your colon.  A simple fast for 18-24 hours does the same trick.  The only reason to clean yourself out in this way would be to prepare for a colonoscopy where the gastroenterologist needs to see a colon that is "spic and span" clean.  Now, if you are just worried that at the time of the apocalypse you'll need clean underwear and you think you would just feel fresher with a clean colon, then be my guest, more power to ya!
So what do you need for the end of the world?
Well, for starters, studies show that many of us are not really ready for an emergency including the worlds demise. But here are a few things to think about having ready just in case the need arises:
Water. You'll need at least a 3 day supply for each person in an emergency and enough to last up to 2 weeks if you're at home. 
Food.  Fresh lemon juice and maple syrup will only last you a week before the diarrhea is so bad you would wish you died from the apocalypse.  So I would suggest at least a 3 day supply for evacuation and at least a 3 month supply for your home. 
First Aid Kit. Hey, I'm a doctor, and you're reading my medical blog, so the first things I think about are food and band-aids. 
Medications for 7 days. Having a 7 day supply of medications on hand is essential, especially for those with significant heart or lung diseases. 
Personal Hygiene Items. Placing all of these items in an emergency 3 day pack or bag that can be easily grabbed on your way out the door is a very good idea.
Emergency Blankets. You never know where a good blanket could come in handy in an emergency.
Batteries.  These are self explanatory.
Extra Cash.  In an emergency, the last place you want to be is at the bank (cause everyone else will be there too).   So it is a good idea to have a little stash of cash available for emergencies. 
Flashlight. Self explanatory.
Radio (battery powered or handcrank)
Hopefully, you are already prepared.  If not, you should consider the above list along with any other items you think may be handy.  Regardless of what Ashton Kurcher or Demi Moore says,  the colon cleanse really won't do you much good at the worlds end. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Super Jump

Crossing the street can be a challenge. Remember to look both ways! A friend and neighbor of mine got a new camera and video editing software.  He is quite the filmaker.  Here is a short that my kids love.  Enjoy. Thanks Ryan.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Things

Most days, I feel like I am a contestant on that continuously running game show "The Price Is Right".  I go from room to room, often wondering what is behind Door #1 - surprised at what I find behind Door #3 - occasionally wishing I never when into Door #2.
This can be really exciting. (Not as exciting as a carotid endarterectomy or a colonoscopy, I'll admit, but hey, this is outpatient medicine.) There is always something interesting behind the next door.
It can also be fatiguing.  This morning brought two cases of valley fever, three cases of depression, four episodes of constipation, two cases of shingles, and four upper respiratory infections. That was just part of my morning. Oh, there was a nice external plump hemorrhoid and a really ugly looking wart for kicks. (No, I didn't kick them, but it sounded nice, didn't it?)  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy what I do.  It is rewarding, but I have found over the last 10 years that I have to work faster and faster and see an increasing number of people with increasingly complex medical problems to cover the overhead.  This is the fatiguing part.
I'm sure I'm not alone in my feelings. Many people I see in the office are working harder in their fields for less and many are without work, looking for a job.  There seems to be a general feeling of worry and fatigue among many that I see.
In looking for relief to my fatigue, I came across a few thoughts.  The first was that of John White. "There are three kinds of people in the world: those that can't stand Picasso, those that can't stand Raphael, and those who've never heard of either of them."
That didn't help.
The second was a comment made by Albert Einstein. "He who marches joyfully to the music rank and file has already earned my contempt.  He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."
Really? Now, I just feel bad.
But, I was reminded of "three things" at the New Year that seemed to lighten the load. The Holidays were wonderful at my house.  I hope they were at yours.  Not that great gifts were showered, or that the Christmas fudge was better than ever this year, or that I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but that my understanding of a person's basic needs was enlightened.
A drugstore psychiatrist was once heard stating that a healthy psyche really only needs three things:
1. Someone to Love
2. Something Important to Do
3. Something Pleasant to Look Forward to
The holidays were refreshing, as I had a chance to spend time with those that I love, my wife and children, and to think about extended family and friends that are close to my heart.  Taking a little time each day to think about or do something simple with those you love is energizing.  I was involved in a serious auto accident recently and for a brief time during that ordeal I was not sure how much longer I would spend upon this earth. It drove home the point to me that this life is short and we really have no idea what tomorrow holds for us. I have found that this just takes a little focus. In the words of Albert Einstein, "Any man that can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves."  I have committed myself to focusing a little time each day on making sure that I can express my love in meaningful ways.
Each of us needs a task.  That task needs to be important in some way.  I have had many patients over the years arrive at retirement and within a few short month, looking forward to enjoying the "easy life," become depressed, irritable, and reclusive because they are no longer contributing in a productive way to something meaningful.  We need to feel like we are making a difference. We need to feel like we are making a contribution in some way.  This keeps us healthy and it keeps us strong.  It keeps us engaged. Find something in your day that is meaningful to those around you or your community, and make it a priority to contribute your skills and energies to improve this world because you were here today. To put it in the words of one of our generations great thinkers, "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
Lastly, we each need something enjoyable to look forward to.  King Solomon of the biblical Old Testament states that "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). How much happier a person is when they have something pleasant to work toward or to look forward to.  Our day to day lives often involve a great deal of repetition.  This can bring monotony and boredom. Looking forward to even a simple change of pace each week can be invigorating and rejuvenating.  I have found that spending an hour or two each week working on a hobby, reading a good book, taking my wife on a date, taking my child for an ice cream, or taking a trip to someplace interesting can be welcome activities you look forward too all week. These need be expensive, yet can be refreshing and renewing for your outlook on the week Commit yourself to planning a simple activity this week you look forward experiencing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Your Parking Ability as a Determinant for Medical Career Choice?

One of the most fascinating and questionably relevant studies this author has ever read was recently published.  A covert observational study was conducted by R. Scott McCain et al., published last week in the British Medical Journal showing some very interesting findings.  103 medical practioners were covertly observed as they entered the parking area of a British Hospital over a three day period.  Their speed to enter the parking garage, exit their car, and walk to the facility were each measured. The study looked specifically at the approach to the entrance where a key swipe was necessary, total time to park and then exit the car, and the speed with which they walked to from the car to the facility.
The results are most interesting in that surgeons appeared to be the quickest, followed by anesthseologists, radiologists, then general medical practitioners.  Sex of the physician did not seem to play a role, however, as the males and females physicians did not differ in their specialty.
Unique and consistent behavior has been identified among specialties by this study.  Suggestion is made by the author that this could be a good and inexpensive aptitude test for medical specialty selection.  This is, however, the first study of its kind, and further evaluation should be conducted as the researcher himself was a surgeon.