Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Dialysis may get a new "look"

 Christopher Weaver, WSJ, Sept 15, 2014, reports that some kidney dialysis places are upgrading their ambiance.

They don't want to look like a hospital, said one spokesperson.

KidneySpa in Miami opened in 2008. uses natural materials, nature sounds, and earth colors.

Dialyspa (spa again) has a crushed-ice bar, whatever that is.

High bandwidth internet is another feature. Heated chairs are nice.

But--warn the experts--don't confuse amenities with medical quality. Ask patients what their experience has been. Go to several places--get a feel.

Dialysis still involves invasive tubes, handling of blood. Aromatherapy and New Age music are nice but you don't want an infection.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New cancer diagnosis procedures may be coming

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Septe 15, 2014, writes that 596,000 Americans may die of cancer this year--but many will die of fast-moving lethal forms.

In the meantime, with all the "preventive" measures to detect early (not prevent), many other people may be undergoing unnecessary treatment that can affect the rest of their lives.

One doctor said we are detecting too many slow-growing cancers and too few fast-growing ones.

A National Cancer Institute advisory panel is calling for major changes. Included are new screenings for deadly forms, registries to track the slower forms, and new language to remove the word cancer from
"pre" conditions.

For example, as much as 60% of prostate cancer is so slow-growing, the man will outlive it. But the treatments can change the man's whole life. Some think the percentage of those who have cancer cells in the prostate equal age--age 70, 70% of men have them.

Scientists now estimate that 30% of invasive breast cancers, 18% o f lung cancers, and 90% of papillary thyroid cancers pose no lethal threat.

No no no, say people diagnosed early and "saved."

The key is figuring out who is at risk--and screening those people early on.

Should you refuse screening? Personal decision. For breast and prostate cancer, you have a 2.7% chance of dying of it. Screen 10,000 women in their 60s for breast cancer every year and between 5 and 49 cases will be averted. Ninety women will die of it anyway. And 64 to 194 will be treat unnecessarily.

Your call. In the meantime, the research continues. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Groceries by mail?

According to Eric Katz, Government Executive, Sept 24, 2014, the US Postal Service is rolling out a pilot program to deliver groceries to people between 3 am and 7 am. They are calling this Customized Delivery (which says nothing, in my opinion--why do they NEVER ask me to name?)

This will only be in a few cities--not yet announced.

You don't have to wake up--they will leave it without knocking or ringing. Hmmm. This BETTER be pretty nice cities.

This will be tested for two yrs unless it's a clear loser.

Nice to be optimistic, isn't it?

I get groceries delivered from Safeway--$50 minimum. If I give them four hours to get here--it's $7 tacked on. Less time, more tacked on.

I do it for bulky (paper towels, tissue) or heavy stuff (kitty litter). It works pretty well and I hope they don't end it. The guys are really nice and put everything in the garage or wherever without eyerolling. And tipping is forbidden.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Warm bottled water in your car--don't drink it

Everyone has half-full bottles of water lying around in their car, boat, or garage.

At the University of Florida, they did a study on bottled water from China. Hello? Dollar Store?

Plastic bottles are made of polyethylene terephthatlate--when warm, this releases antimony and bisphenol A--BPA.

Bad stuff.

The FDA continues to study this,  but even at Mayo they think this may be bad for children.

In the study, worst case scenarios were tested--16 brands at 158 degrees F for four weeks.

Only one exceeded the EPA standard for antimony and BPA. Other brands--who knows?

The longer stored in a hot place--the worse. A garage or car trunk in summer perhaps?

My sister sips hot GatorAid--bleh. To me it tastes like sweat lemonade.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My experiment in consulting with a doctor

Even though I am sure you, my readers, think I am an expert user of medical care, I am not.

When they told me I had atrial fibrillation--irregular heartbeat--I went eek, heart trouble, and dutifully took the pills they prescribed in the ER. For nine months I was deathly ill from this medicine and almost died after finally getting hospitalized.

They they put me on a blood thinner--you must have this to prevent a stroke. My dad died of a stroke. So I was on thinners for yrs--monthly tests--got a bad bleed inside, then my retina detached and four operations later could not be reattached because of clots. I quit that on my own.

At the beginning of the summer, I could not breathe. Pneumonia. The ER doc spent about 10 secs with me and said you have pneumonia and probably congestive heart failure. CHF? What? I took the diuretic pills like a good girl.

Every morning for months, I was sweaty, nauseated, dizzy--for hours. I got up six times a night. Awful.

My doctor said my kidney numbers were bad--maybe kidney failure--Stage Three Kidney Disease. He referred me to a kidney specialist.

BUT--I called the place and asked for the office manager. I said I wanted to TALK only. She said, "A consultation?" I said yes. She suggested a doctor in the group who spoke perfect English.

The staff was bossy and nervy and I almost walked, but the doctor was breezy, pleasant, and shrugged off my numbers. She said I did not need the diuretic and certainly not TWO of them. She said come back in three months to repeat the blood tests (the other office, OF COURSE, did not send them all) and to do an ultrasound.

I dropped the heavy duty pill, spaced my BP pills and aspirin through the day, and feel normal!

Don't be afraid to question the system. Talk! See were you stand.