Friday, December 19, 2014

Dunno--would you give these gifts?

Debbie Jansky, assistant nurse manager, Home Health Services, at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, advises "assistive" gifts for the 133 million Americans with chronic conditions.

Some ideas she has:

Medication organizers--slots for pills for daily or weekly.

Pill cutters are good. I use my teeth--probably not such a hot idea.

Pill punch--gets into those hard plastic packaging shields.

ID bracelet or watch--gives important info, such as DIABETIC or ON BLOOD THINNERS.

Grabber--for long distance reaching.

Adjustable cane that folds down for pocket or purse.

Rollator--a luxurious (?) walker with a basket for shopping and a bench to sit on to rest.

And for the loo--hand held shower sprays, toilet seat benches, safety rails.

Most of these would freak me out--except a high toilet--those are great. I mean the whole toilet, not a thick seat perched on top.

Also--no scales. If you want to live.

You decide--would the person appreciate this or feel creaky and like a hot mess?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zen Sports to debut at Boca Bowl

Barbara Schmidt, author of The Practice, will coach both teams in the Boca Bowl on meditation and mindfulness. Apparently the Seattle Seahawks already tried this with some success.

Zen Sports is designed to eliminate negative stressors--which this is connecting to the recent spate of abuse cases.

Meditation, Schmidt says, is "magical" if combined with exercise. You can access a deep source of energy.

The Boca Raton Bowl will feature Marshall (12-1) and Northern Illinois (11-2).

So...we shall see....Ooooommmmmm.

For more info: http://www.peacefulmindpeacefullife.org.

I do wonder--if both teams do it, won't they cancel each other's unstressedness?




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oh, those spendy ultrasounds

Doctors love to order ultrasounds--they don't hurt, don't impart radiation, aren't noisy and cramped, don't require disgusting prep, and therefore people will do it (some people, read on) and they can charge some completely arbitrary and huge amount for a machine that is at the low end of cost for the hospital or office.

Elizabeth Rosenthal, NYT, Dec 15, 2014, wrote about a guy who had two echocardiograms--an ultrasound of the heart. One was at a community hospital, the other at a big-woo medical center in Boston. Weirdly, the Boston one, three times as long complete with cardiologist on call, was $1,400. The one in the little hospital was $5,500.

Whew. Crazy Time!

Testing is a profit center, the article stated. Boy howdy, do I agree.

I had an echo once in the doc's office--don't remember what the purported charge was--but it was no big deal. The guy in the story paid $80 on $500 (Medicare).

One doctor said the threshold for ordering an echocardiogram is for the patient to have a heart.

The guy also got the first echo because he was undergoing cataract surgery--that is not even advised--cataract surgery is not total anesthesia. He also had no heart symptoms and was given to long walks.

Another doc in the article said some docs think, I have paid for this machine, the patient is insured, might as well use it.

This is not to say that all ultrasounds are unnecessary--you have to bore in a little and see how dedicated the doctor is to this test. Certainly the ones of babies are exciting!

I was ordered to get an ultrasound of my kidneys recently--I had a cyst 20 yrs ago. When I called for the appt they asked my weight. I said why. They said their table had limits. I said what is the limit? They said 600 lbs. This irritated me so much--this has to be a routine question? I did not get it! Maybe I am endangering myself...but come on!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Are you sick of the "deadly" holiday stories?

Every year, I obligingly remind you that you will be lucky to live through the hols.

Now, we are told that not only is this the most wonderful time of the year, it's the busiest for the Suffolk County Colunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital in NY.

(By the way, when I wrote about not putting wet turkey into a deep fat fryer, someone said it was OK if you dried it first--I am skeptical.)

At Christmas and the concurrent holidays, cooking is a rich source of burns. People are not used to cooking so many dishes at once and for so many people. It can get crazy. People are crowded in the kitchen--you are trying to dump boiling water or sizzling fat...and...

---Keep wooden utensils, towels, and packaging away from the stove top.

--Again, deep fry turkeys outdoors and don't overfill the fryer. Be super careful lowering in the bird.

--Keep children from reaching up to the stove or counter tops. Turn pan handles inside.

--Large dishes are heavier than you are used to--be careful removing them from the oven.

Christmas trees--formerly live ones--crisp up fast. Check for freshness before buying--the needles should resist pulling. Do not place it near the fireplace.

Also do not burn wrappings in the fire place. Never leave candles unattended--this happened to us--the side caved in, wax flowed, and my daughter's room was totaled. No candles or incense EVER in our house now.

Keep kids away from fireplaces.

Good grief, I am getting depressed. Please be safe! I need all my readers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeling blue--instead of red and green?

It's almost a cliche--happy holiday, sad feelings.

Erika Saunders, MD, interim chair of psychiatry at Penn State Hershey, says there are signs to watch for.

--The inability to enjoy things others like.

--Feelings of hopelessness.

                                                      --Changes in sleep or appetite.

If this interferes with social functions, urge the person to get help.

But expressing sadness at this time of year does not necessarily mean a depressive disorder!

We tend to think of those we lost at holiday time. That's because we often saw that person only at the holidays--or they were their most memorable then.

Money woes surface at the hols..people want to separate and start the year fresh..all these can lead to depression.

The amount of sunlight also enters in--seasonal affective disorder.

Of course, the doctor advises talk with a doctor. If you think this is beyond you, do that. One thing that is not so great is to overdo the eggnog and alcohol--the self-med route.