Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Not really recommending this book

It's called Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar (pron. Joe-har).  

Since I have atrial fib, a rhythm disorder, the "approaches" to which (1) almost killed me, and (2) may have been responsible for a clotting disorder that destroyed by right retina despite four operations, I was tugged into this story and probably just want to transfer it to you.

This book is a hot mess. The author does not really seem to want to be a cardiologist--his brother, the favorite son he tells us, became one, so he did. He says he became a salaried doctor at a hospital so he could run a "congestive heart failure" program and not give patients unnecessary procedures like cardiologists in private practice do (his contention, he deems them crooks). His brother works at the same hospital but makes twice as much, because he installs stents.

Despite trying to sound compassionate about the "very sick" people he "cares" for, he gives unnecessary procedures or else rather curtly suggests to people that they sign a Do Not Resuscitate on themselves then and there.

He writes in excruciating detail about organ systems failing, people drowning in their own fluids, etc---and this is the part hat got me... Ugh. If I did end up in a cardiac critical care unit, would I want this dude taking care of me?

He describes patients with contempt--"Her remaining tooth looked like a fang..."

He bleats constantly about private practice cardios piling on the tests, for which they make a ton more money than he does. Don't we understand, he needs more money--for an expensive preschool, for all the IVF that went before, a bigger NY apt, etc?

I have had eight cardiologists in my life--all kept recommending the tests. I even had one that was installing pacemakers he bought on eBay--a huge scandal at the time.

I also, on my eighth, refused a chemical stress test. I already know my heart beats wonkily--I don't need a simulated heart attack following by an "antidote."

Is this guy a whistleblower--or a rich crybaby in the wrong business?

You can decide if this interests you. But I will tell you one thing--the next doctor I go to, I will be wondering if he or she is listening or just had a big fight with the spouse and is drifting. Does he think I am just a big, fat, noncompliant pig with heart trouble? Is he or she under pressure to order expensive tests to make money for the hosp or practice? Do I need another Holter? Why?

And most importantly--if I end up with congestive heart failure, will the doctor give a flip?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Despite pre-travel advice, people getting just as ill

You've heard all the advice, I am sure. Drink bottled water, don't eat street food, eat fruit with an intact peel only, on and on.

But, despite all this, researchers at the Umea University in Sweden say, people are getting sick at the same rate they always did, risk-taking younger people the most, older people the least.

Diarrhea and respiratory diseases lead the list.

Health care students got sick the most often, despite the most advice beforehand. They took more risks and encountered resistant bacteria.

One reason given for the fairly constant rate of illness among travelers was poor restaurant hygiene. Guess you can't count on everything being boiled to a fare-thee-well.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hmmm...mobile dentist

I hate going to the doc and the dentist because I need to find a ride and then walk long distances on my horrible knees. I stall, dread, and blow off.

However, Case Western Reserve's School of Dentistry has renovated a 38-foot van into a dentist's office.

Dental students, supervised by faulty, provide oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, dentures, extractions, and cancer screenings for older people, many of whom had not seen a dentist in years.

They set up outside senior centers and assisted living--and for those who can't get into the van, they set up chairs inside.

Among dentists, the notion that seniors are harder to treat, the program's leader says. He says they want to take dentists out of their comfort zone of ignoring seniors.

Time was, he adds, old people just lost their teeth...But now, more of them are keeping more of their teeth and need specialized care.

I have used mobile pet grooming in a truck outside in front--why not a dentist?

PS I still hate that word "senior"--I always think of high school.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pumpkin dog cookies

Over the hols, we must remember our furry buds. Not that they would let us forget. My cat was SQUACKING like mad this morning.

So while you are whipping up holiday treats, make some Pumpkin Treats for Fido (how come no dogs are ever named Fido or Rover, yet those are the typical go-to name for dogs?).

Some veterinarians at Colorado State approved this recipe.

2-3 slices of bacon (if your dog is chubby, you can omit)

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

2 eggs

1 cup whole oats

2-12/ cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (lets me out--no idea what that is)

Heat a large skillet. Add bacon and brown it  until crispy (6-8 mins).

Crumble it up and keep the extra fat.

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree, eggs, and bacon fat. Add the oats and 2 cups of the flour. Mix, then add the rest of the flour until dough is no longer sticky.  Blend in the bacon.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead it few times to make it pliable, then roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out shapes with a cutter or knife and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake until edges are golden brown--20-25 mins.  Cool before "serving" to er...Fido.

As for the human treats--no chocolate for dogs! No raw dough--uncooked yeast can upset their insides.

No grapes, raisins or nuts! Grapes can even cause kidney failure.

No xylitol--this sweetener can lead to liver failure in dogs.

No ham--too salty.

Keep the turkey carcass away from pets. Wolfing down fatty leftovers can lead to pancreatitis.

Oh, well--the mutts can console themselves with the special cookies. Doesn't sound too bad.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Baby bed bumpers

You know what bumpers are--those pillowy strips you tie around the crib bars encircling the tot. My daughter had some darling ones with alligators on them (we were very cynical in those days--more than now even).

Problem is, even a baby a few days old will squirm their way to the sides to get their head against something solid--and those loosely tied bumpers can tangle the child into the folds and...well, not good.

Deaths and injuries due to this bedding are up, according to a professor emeritus of pediatrics and two researchers with the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Bumpers caused more tragedies than blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals.

Still, the numbers are low--two digits, maybe a few a year. But the researchers say this data is not reliable. (J of Pediatrics, Nov 24, 2105)

When the baby's mouth and nose are covered with a bumper, they can suffocate or expire from breathing oxygen-depleted air. Or get brain damage from the latter.

At first, bumpers were used to keep a baby's head from getting caught in the slats of the crib.  Since 1973, though, requirements are that the slats be close enough together that a head cannot get through.

Which reminds me--if Grandma is getting an old crib out of the attic for a holiday visit--say something.

And don't just put in crib bumpers, either. They are even banned for sale in Maryland and the city of Chicago.