Friday, October 31, 2014

Price we pay for not sleeping

I admit it--I have a Teddy Bear.
They say that the (ahem) older people sleep less. I sure do! I have always been a spotty sleeper--couple of hours, wake up, then back, tossing around through the night.

Now daylight savings is ending. We don't go on it in Arizona, but we do have to adjust our thinking--our East Coast buds are now only two hours later, the cable shows are one hour later.

From oldies to tots, not sleeping exacts a toll. Sleep is when the body restores itself, hormones adjust, memories are solidified and the whole immune system is set in place anew.

Sleep loss in adults accumulates--and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, high BP, depression, and of course, our favorite, obesity.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends:

16 hours for infants
12-14 hours for toddlers (1-3)
11-13 hours for preschool (3-5)
10-11 hours for school age (5-12)
8.5-9.5 hrs for teens
7-9 hours for Adults

I am doomed. I get about 5-6 hours, all broken up.

I don't perform vigorous exercise within 4 hours of bedtime, I don't use a phone or tablet, I avoid medications. I do listen to audiobooks in the dark when not feeling sleepy--eventually, I drop off.

If I don't, I just "rest."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The doctor hunt--new notes

As I reported (scroll down), my primary provider (actually a Physician Asst under supervision of a doctor) is no longer taking my Medicare Advantage plan.


I called the plan, as reported, and got some suggestions--which boiled down from eight to one when I looked into each doctor.

I also tagged up with my insurance broker--and he is searching for a new plan that will take my old doctor.

I also requested the 2015 Provider Book from my present plan. Imagine my surprise--it is almost half the thickness of the old one!

So...did the doctors quit because of chintzy reimbursements or did they fire docs because too many of their patients would not scurry from test to test or come to their "talking physicals" or fill in health histories only the CIA could love.

So I am pending. I have until Dec 7th. The problem is I did agree to tests in December and that doctor is no longer on my plan, either. If the tests require followup, I would have to find a new specialist.

This is completely aggravating--and probably not good for my health, either.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hey, doc, what level are you?

Finally--a good use for video games.

Yes, these excellent time consumers are credited with making better surgeons--dexterity, you know.

Hand-eye coordination, reaction time, problem solving skills--surgery simulators are weirdly similar to video games.

A 2001 study showed that laparoscopic surgeons, working in tiny incisions in the body using joysticks, made 37% fewer mistakes if they played video games three times a week.

Other studies have backed this up. World of Warcraft, for example, was shown to improve the team skills in the operating room.

See? Junior may become a doctor after all!

Experts say you can even ask your surgeon if he or she plays games.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Think of those adorable teeth!

How exciting when a kid pops a tooth...all gleaming white and perfect. Then comes Halloween.

Certain types of candy can damage teeth--and I don't mean cavities.

Martin Hogan, DDS, division director of dentistry at Loyola, says he sees parents and kids undergoing pain and expense from Halloween candy.

First, hard candy. Kids don't suck and savor--they chomp, Hogan says.This can lead to cracked teeth, punctured gums (ack), and tender roofs of mouths. Lose the hard candy and substitute bags of pretzels or cheese-filled crackers. Sealed, of course.

Bubblegum or gumballs coat the teeth in a bath of sugar and can loosen teeth or braces. Maybe a candy with xylitol would help teeth (it can cause diarrhea, though).

Caramels--not only does it coat teeth with sugar, it can lodge between teeth and stay there. Wax lips don't.

Gummies--worms, bugs--can cause decay.

Taffy--oh, don't even! Sticks in teeth and braces.

How about packets of sunflower or or pumpkin seeds. peanuts?

I know, none of these substitutes sound fun. I agree. Still, as an adult, a broke a tooth on movie candy--and that was no joy ride either.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Check out 60 Minutes on nursing people with Ebola

I was very impressed--even shed some tears of admiration--for the nurses who took care of the first Ebola patient here--Thomas Eric Duncan.

You can see their story at:

The times I have been hospitalized, the nurses made it bearable--they were great, while the occasional doctor was often stiff and snooty.

Ebola is a horrible disease with waterfalls of vomit and feces and bleeding from every orifice. Even one virus--one!--slipping in can start up a case in someone.

These nurses had to learn on the fly--they had incomplete info on protecting themselves...they are truly heroes. They sucked it up and did it.

But if you ask me, the succeeding cases were treated more casually. I feel nurses and doctors--of all people--should be overly cautious. Instead, they waltzed around bowling and flying to try on wedding dresses and so on.

I also was irritated that one nurse did not want to be isolated. Sitting out 21 days should be part of the job. The suits should know that.

We had quarantines when I was a kid--measles, chicken pox, mumps--a big sign on the house. Maybe we need that again until this burns out.