Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When the health news sucks

…Jessie Gruman, PhD, is founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Health ( and is very hip.

…Still, after four horrible health problems, she says she does not want to “consume” health care. She does not want to research, comparison-shop, make complex decisions.

…She wants someone to say: “Here is the perfect camera for you and look! It’s on sale!”

…But this is not how it works these days.People don’t defer as much to doctors and most doctors are reluctant to take charge.

…Her book is called After Shock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You—or Someone You Love--a Devastating Diagnosis.

…Her four experiences were 3 cancer verdicts and a heart problem.

…If you get a bad diagnosis, she says, you need to: Respond to the shock, learn about the condition and treatments, decide whether to involve others, find the right doctors and hospitals, get timely medical appointments, seek second opinions, manage work, pay for care, find relief, and then take the next steps.

…That’s a lot.

…Gruman recommends taking a few days off to absorb the shock. Your thoughts may race, you may cry, you may get irritated. Don’t go out. You don’t even have to talk to anyone. Protect yourself.

…Only then, do you start the research process. And this includes researching your insurance. You may need to blow up your card so the writing is legible—you will need it.

…As for others involved in your care, you may need someone else to listen during fraught appts. That person should confirm they will come and not make you wonder or fret.

…If you are asked to accompany the patient, ask the patient what role they want you to play—should you ask questions or will they handle that? Bring paper and a pencil. Be early.

…Gruman also recommends that the “partner” not talk to others about the appointment without permission. This applies to family members, too. Never miss an appt. If you can’t do all this, then don’t take it on.

…With her detached retina and surgery, HA knows the numbing effects of bad news. The confusion and inability to think. You try to think and then conclude: “Nope, nothing coming.”

…This book could be a big help to anyone in a similar situation. HA recommends it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Capoeira, anyone?

…If you get sick of pole dancing as exercise (and let’s face it, the cutoffs and the sweat aren’t quite conveying the message you want), how about one of the new alternative workouts outlined by Jorge Cruise in USA Today Weekend (Jan26-28, 2007)?

…Group exercise has gone beyond step aerobics, Cruise sez. In fact, 24 Hour Fitness has 50 types of exercise class!

…Cruise even has a book out called 8 Minutes in the Morning. HA has reviewed it and those are some eight minutes!

…Have you heard of Capoeira, a 400-year-old Brazilian sport combining music, dance and combat? You have to be fit already or this one will flatten ya. Go to

…NIA is Neuromuscular Integrative Action. Think dance mixed with martial arts. Fifty-two moves. Visit to get a book call The Nia Technique by Debbie aqnd Carlos Rosa.

…BalleCore. This is Pilates, Hatha yoga and ballet. Anyone can do it. Go to or get Molly Weeks’s book, The BalleCore Workout.

…Salsa! Anyone can do it! But can anyone do it without looking like Elaine on Seinfeld?

…Gyrokinesis. Gymnastics, tai chi, dance, and yoga—moving constantly. Combine with cardio. for classes or a DVD.

…Kettlebell uses a cannon ball with a handle for drills. The thing is heavy and you need proper instruction to keep from clocking yourself or someone else. Check out

…Oh, yes, it’s Russian.

…If you are strangely lacking in kettlebells and balletic yogis, how about a nice walk?

…Better yet, where is that darn pole?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dark side of V-Day

…HA unromantic? Heaven forfend.

…She is just sayin’.

…Ruth Hudson. Seriously—this woman is an infidelity expert. She sponsors a Valentine’s Day Infidelity Awareness Campaign ( She also wrote Is He Cheating on You- 829 Telltale Signs. Notice a theme developing?
(Why 829? Oh, never mind.)

…Despite what people think about lovey-dovey V-Day, it’s when infidelity reaches its peak and Private Eyes are slammed with business.


…50% to 70% of Americans are victims of infidelity, she adds. That’s just the women! If you factor in emotional infidelity, cyber infidelity, same-sex, and the men who get cheated on, it’s more like 85%. This is what Hudson says, anyhow.

…If you suspect something, V-Day is the time to get the goods, she adds. A lot of the $13 billion spent on gifts at V-Day is spent by cheaters! Check the credit card and phone bills.

…You know what HA thinks?

…You may ask a question you don’t want answered.

…Still, if you are the one hankying and pankying, beware. The V-Day patrol may be out!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Is your doctor the loving type?

…An ER doc named Scott Diering has put up a site for doctors based on his book, Love Your Patients. He thinks the doctor-patient relationship should be based on agape, the Greek form of love in which one is nice for no reason—and this includes physicians.

…As well as patients.

…On his site,, he offers doctors some tips for acting with compassion, respect and humility. He asks them:

…Do I carefully read my patient’s feelings, intentions and clues and respond?

…Do I minister to my patients? Touch them? Use the word “we”?

…Do I make eye contact with the patient and visitors? Do I smile?.

…Do I excuse myself and apologize if I have to leave or take a call?

…Do I call people by their name or at least a polite Miss, Ms, or Mr?

…Do I honor confidentiality?

…Do I allow my patient to save face?

…Do I acknowledge their goals? Notice their improvement?

…Recognize their unique skills or jobs?

…Respect the patient’s time with intelligent scheduling?

…Admit mistakes?

…Use regular, plain English, not medical terms?

…Explain my rationale?

To this HA would add:

…Do I realize that while I have done this hundreds of times, the patient has not and may be scared or in shock?

…HA knows a couple of docs who could use a copy of this book! Don’t ask—she might tell ya.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dealing with unreasonable people

…One run-in with a crab or dope can ruin your day. Suddenly you feel headachy, hopeless, and frustrated. Amd worse---still mad, even though the person may be long gone.

…Olivia Fox is author of the Pocket Guide to Becoming a Superstar in Your Field.
She has some tips for dealing with “some people.”

…Don’t tell them they are wrong. If you do they will cling to their position more strongly and like you less.

…Don’t interrupt—hear them out. All the while, maintain open, noncommittal body language.

…Count to five when the person stops talking, don’t rush right in.

…Don’t disagree with their feelings, even if you disagree with their facts or how they are framing the reaons for their feelings.

…Rephrase their complaint to make sure you heard it properly.

…If their body is rigid and locked up, hand them something so they have to change position.

…Mirror their voice level and choice of words.

…If all this fails, this is why they invented Cage Fighting.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why we stress-eat, if anyone knows

…Do you know people who undergo stress and stop eating? Nah, neither does HA.

…Those folks on their so-called “Divorce Diets”? From another planet!

…Writing in the Washington Post (Jan 23, 2007), Sally Squires looks into why we eat when the heat is on.

…Some people crave salty foods when pulling an all-nighter. Some reach for the cookies during a breakup.

…Yet, those killjoy scientists point out that fight-or-flight is the usual reaction to stress (for women, it’s tend and befriend). F-or-F means the muscles must be ready for action—not hampered by a heavy meal. So the face-stuffing goes against biology.

…The brain certainly isn’t calling out for calories to work better.

…Those affected the most by splurges under stress are those who normally watch their cals.

…Also this splurging thing can also occur when engaged in a fun activity. Personally, HA thinks it's all related to the pleasure brain chemical, serotonin, but no on asked her.

…Meanwnile, while the scientists mull, the stress and happiness eaters stock up on “better” stuff like nuts and yogurt, so the bad stuff isn’t there.

…Some of them walk around the building a few times. Walk it off—HA can relate.

…The best thing to remember, HA thinks, is that a binge moment will just add to the stress.

…Wouldn’t want a vicious circle. Unless it could chase you around and provide some exercise.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Postpartum pops

…No (ha ha), he didn’t give birth. But research shows new fathers can also bum out.

…Most of it is situational, nor hormonal. Up all night with a baby screaming, the wife is stressed or postpartum, other kids may be acting out with the newcomer in their midst, expenses are mounting.

…Instead of a strictly hormonal explanation for women, too, the docs have decided home situations, money, workplace pressures, fatique, and genetic background can come into it for both genders.

…According to a story by Barbara Yost in the Jan 16, 2007 AZ Republic, researchers at the Univ of Iowa interviewed 808 new dads in eastern Iowa and found that 6.3% had indicators of depression (partner depressed, persistent sadness, lack of interest in activities, no joy in the baby, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, and thoughts of hurting himself).

…Another study showed 14% of mothers and 10% of fathers may have postpartum depression.

…Childbirth brings a loss of freedom and a layer of new responsibility.

…Men may not be sure what their role is.

…They may have to share their partner with the baby, too.

…But, of course, many men don’t want to talk about these emotional issues.

…One doctor says he just calls it depression, not postpartum depression, when dealing with men.

…Men would have more fun with their families if they treat it, he added.

…There might also be less child or spouse abuse.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Have you kissed your feet today?

…Susan Brink, in the LA Times, writes about the miracle that is the human foot.

…What an appendage! (HA’s are cold right now, this is AZ?)

…The foot walks uphill, downhill, it constantly changes pitch, all while absorbing an impact equal to 3.5 times our weight.

…It has 26 bones, 33 joints.

…But it’s two enemies are: hard surfaces and the shoe.

…Concrete strains that neat little arch thing. Then if you add a shoe that is a teeny bit too short or rubs and you are adversely affecting almost every bone, muscle, and ligament in your bod!

…That little tootsie of yours took millions of years to develop. The Big Toe stablizes the foot and allows us to walk upright (helpful when dating).

…The baby to the middle toes help us stand still.

…Some people can use toes like fingers—they still have that ancient grabbing ability.

…Anyone who wears shoes has deformed feet, docs say.

…Every time a kid outgrows a shoe by a little and you don’t notice or put off paying for new ones, the deformity increases. One doc said it was like foot binding.

…One answer may be to strengthen our feet. This means…exercise!

…You need to find a foot aerobics class. These amount to scrunching your toes all around, sometimes separately from each other, for half an hr a week.

…Of course, always dry your feet carefully, don’t let toenails grow under, and watch those Manolos, ladies.

…Feet are considered erotic in some cultures. HA had her first-ever peddie (courtesy of her daughter) and her feet looked pretty cute.

…She even began to like them better and appreciate them more, though at the moment they could be warmer.

…Hear that, down there?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trend for 2007: Locavores eating warted hubbards

…The Chicago Trib laments the passing of small plates and squeeze bottles of condiments…so last year.

…So what’s next, new, hot and sexy in the world of food?

…Weird fruits, for one. HA once wrote about these horned melons, acai, Chinese wolfberries, and other exotica. And she tasted some. Let’s just say: Better as a concept than a snack. Still, $67K worth of rambutans were sold in 2006, up from $16K the year before. What is a rambutan? HA was going to ask you.

…Squash will be, as The Donald says, yooge! Delicata, warted hubbard…don’t they sound fabulous?

…Tea! This is coming back strong, despite never leaving. Black, white, green, red, herbal, you name it. Goji Berry Pomegrante is a flavor coming from Celestial Seasonings.

…Chips and crispies go international. Thai Chips, Kettles Roasted Red Pepper with Goat Cheese Chips. Potatoes? Over with chipwise. Look for cassava, Indian pandums, plaintain, yucca, and boniata chips. Boney-whatta?

…Sushi is history. Japanese food will be, get this, COOKED! HA has to admit this is a relief.

…Stuff willl be good for you! Crammed with flavenoids and carotinoids. And maybe some other oids we haven’t heard about yet. There will be oids!

…Forget Mexico. Now it’s Spain, babies! Spanish wines will flood the country. Ole!

…Wines will be grown in biodynamic vineyards without pesticides or fertilizers. Of course, some winemakers may pass on the biodynamic practice of burying manure-filled cow horns in the vineyard during the autumnal equinox. Some people get into the voodoo aspect, remarked one winemaker. HA hates that.

…Micro breweries will still be around, but micro distillers will join them. Look for DiVine—vodka made from grapes. (Didn’t that used to be called grappa?)

…Listen for the term, “terroir,” which means all the factors that affect a plant, soil, air, altitude, etc. Usually applied to wine, this will slop over onto chocolate…and you will find single-origin chocolates and the like.

….You may become a “locavore,” meaning you will only eat food that comes from within 100 miles of you. Check out

…Fame will shift from chefs to farmers. I guess if you are a locavore, you will be on a first name basis with your rock star provider.

…HA finds this amusing and she learned some new words. But to her, it’s the same old Blue Box.

…Os should she say, “Bleu”?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Over half of women living without a hubs

…Sam Roberts, in the NYT (Jan 16, 2007) says 51% of women now live without a spouse, whether widowed, divorced or never married.

…HA has a friend who read this and said: “I am finally in the majority.”

...Ah, to be mainstream.

..Wait—Jane Wyatt was mainstream, married to a dominant male and mother of two.

…Mainstream isn’t what it used to be.

…Married couples are also a minority of households.

…Women in their 30s often have roommates not permanent mates.

…Black women are even less likely to hitch their destiny to a guy—only 30% are married and living with their husbands.

…Marriage is no longer the main institution organizing people’s lives, one expert said.

…That’s quite a statement.

…We have reached a tipping point, another said.

…One woman said she looked at all the weddings she attended in the 80s and sees how they turned out.

…The women who don’t set out to find another guy value their alone time, they said. They do as they please.

…Men tend to marry more quickly after a divorce—53% are living with a spouse.

…HA was kicking this around in a sort of bemused way with another single friend. She doesn’t want to be a nurse, mother, or provider to a male.

…Especially the latter. A second income amd someone to pal around with would be nice, ask any writer. But you don’t find many guys with a decent dowry these days. If they have money, they may have gravitated toward the trophy woman.

…One gal in the Times story said she rolled over on “his” side of the bed and thought, “Hey, I like this side.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's special is two thousand calories

…Mary Beth Faller, writing in the Arizona Repubic (Nov 28, 2006), tackled New York’s idea of printing calorie counts on menus.

…Of course, even that proposal was limited—to those who already provide such info on a website or tucked out of sight on a wall board.

…You won’t be seeing “foie gras, 550 calories a bite.”

…Along with it is an order for NY eateries to nix the transfat. That one is probably a good idea.

…Besides NY, 14 states have bills in the works to require restaurants to disclose nutritional info.

…As her regular readers know, HA has slight tolerance for national nannies, bossy cows, know-it-all legislators, and that Arkansas pol with the bug eyes who talks about his weight loss.

…Would it amaze you to learn that she is not totally opposed to listing calories on a menu?

…Not everyone agrees. Opponents say 90 million people would not know what to make of this info—which would include all nutritional information, not just calories. Even people with an HS education, who can read, are health illiterates, one authority noted.

…Different ethnic groups would treat the info differently. One source said African-Americans may note fat content but are also interested in taste.

…Such listings would lead to guilt…people see the calories but eat it anyway.

…On the plus side, if they had to list some ginormous calorie count, would a restaurant notch back the butter or cream?

…Children’s menu listings might cause parents to give kids a Diet Coke instead of milk.

…People might quit going to a restaurant. They could always stay home under the covers eating Oreos.

…In a story on the same subject in the NYT (Dec 13, 2006), TV chef Mario Batali said thought people were more worried about whether the food contained deadly bacteria. (Now that you mention it, Mario…)

…Another restaurant owner said only 7% of diners count calories.

….Well, then, they should know the Blooming Onion at Outback contains 1,800 of the things.

…Never mind, just bring HA an ice water.

…Listing cals would probably provide a really boring conversation but not change much.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Purses or anvils, ladies?

…HA startted putting her pocketbook in her pull-behind shopping cart (what her daughter calls her “goobermobile”) and now can hardly walk around a store carrying her purse without whining about how heavy it is.

…Writing in the NYT Dec 7, 2006), J. Courtney Sullivan says one woman’s chiro would not even treat her unless she lightened the load.

…Big bags are in now. The celeb x-rays like Lindsay and Paris tote them to make their bodies look smaller in comparison (this according to E!News and who is HA to doubt?).

…The woman above “compromised” by not bringing the bag to her appointments, thus cleverly thinking her chiro would forget about it.

…Women are now suffering wholesale from “kid backpack disease.”

…HA remembers picking up her daughter’s backpack once and almost falling over. It was like a bag of star matter!

…Holding your cellphone on the same side as the purse makes it worse—did you know that?

…You are probably telling your friend on the phone…man, my shoulder hurts!

…Some women almost brag about having to have MRIs because of their purse addiction. Gee, that’s a good use of $1500.

…Big bags can trap you in revolving doors, too.

…The Chloe Paddington bag has a half-pound padlock on it.

…The docs recommend changing shoulders (HA cannot stand that) or putting it dead in front of you (now there’s a look).

…A big bag can also be self-fulfilling or at least self-filling. The more room, the more you think you need to bring. One woman lost $2K worth of stuff to a thief.

…Are we idiots, ladies? We need to dial back!

…HA carries a pretty modest little number from a place with “Mart” on the end. Still, she prefers to drag it behind her in her cart.

Friday, January 12, 2007

One word--plastic

…Does this picture fill you with dread? Do you have “wrap rage”?

…That’s the fuming, seething feeling when you try to penetrate some molded plastic glued to cardboard with spaceage tenacity. Space age? This stuff holds on BETTER than the tiles on the Space Shuttle.

…HA once told you the story about having the Flexible Packaging Assn as a client and suggesting the cover of their annual report show a woman chewing her way into a package (they were not amused).

…Packages are made this way to keep people from stealing the contents, JoAnn Hines, says. She calls herself The Packaging Diva. (

…Do you ever feel like Wile E. Coyote trying to pry these suckers apart without plunging a steak knife into your palm?

…Or stabbing your curious toddler in the eye as she comes in for a look?

…Surveys have shown that 93% of people prefer paper packaging.

…What a joke—they MEAN they hate the inpenetrable plastic! Betcha.

…JoAnn Hines can be reached at if you have more to say. She is asking for “good” clamshell-enclosed products. Knock yourself out.

…She is also interested in tips for opening these puppies safely.

…Slightly different subject? A reader informs me that making omelets in a Ziploc bag is a no-no. Apprently some camping enthusasists and even Rachael Ray have suggested this. That kind of plastic is not made for boiling, in water or a microwave.

…Something about unleashing deadly chemicals or something.

...Sounds like a bum idea.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We don't eat nutrients, we eat food

…Of course, some people eat food that has no nutrients. This can be counterproductive.

..Cough, cough, Krispy Kreme…

…I love Larrian Gillespie. She is a medical doctor, bon vivant, loves food and is an awesome cook.

…One also assumes she is normal weight and all hoppy and athletic.

…She has come out with a cookbook of stuff called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Total Nutrition Cooking.

…Yes, we are being beset right now by all the dieting yackety-blab, but this is a good one.

…HA knows you have been casting about for better ways to prepare collard greens and acorn squash.

…The right foods can help fend off high BP, some cancers (they think), and other ills and nuisances.

…Larrian even includes 7-day menus. Take the thinking out of it! (HA’s motto, by the way.)

…Best of all—there is a technique in there to make perfect hardboiled eggs without all those pockmarks and rips on them. The smooth kind. Like real cooks make.

…HA was alarmed, though, to see a recipe for Tweetie omelets. Tweetie? Our Tweetie (no, not Chris Matthews).

…HA is confused. The omelets don’t even have chicken. HA guesses canary omelets, though, would be better portion-wise.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Smells, a source for good?

…Apparently some stench got going in New York that was so bad New Yorkers complained!

...New Yorkers!

…Smells can flood you, overwhelm, and slam you back to past times, feelings, and sensations. Have you ever walked through a perfume dept and remembered people you dated who wore each scent?

…But not everyone agrees.

…Writing in the LA Times (jan 8, 2007), Health Sense reporter Judy Foreman says, in effect, that harnessing the power of smell for “good” is backed by so little evidence the govt’s alternative therapy arm does not even mention aromatherapy.

…They are now studying whether lavender is relaxing, lemon uplifting, and whether odorless distilled water does anything emotionally or physically.

…Yet, evidence is skimpy. In 2000, Foreman reports, 66 women were given sniffs of rose, jasmine, and lavender, but they had no more effect than the control (hair conditioner smell).

…Other studies have found a similar lack of effect on pain, nausea, and other ills.

…Yet, doesn’t the smell of vomit have such a strong effect that people can vomit from it?

…Also smells can be linked to circumstances. Smelling roses walking with your mother in a garden is different from smelling them on her coffin.

…Uh, yeah…OK.

…HA still thinks nice smells count and make each day a little easier.

...Look at all the air freshener people pay for.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Kicking drugs may be necessary

…Medicine on the Midway, the Univ of Chicago magazine, ran a story in its Winter issue on withdrawing seniors from some of the many meds they may be taking.

…It’s nothing for some older people to be piling in 15 scripts. More, sometimes.

…Some Univ of Chi-town profs wrote an article in the Mar 27, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Med proposing a general framework for taking older people off some meds.

…Often, they point out, the reasons the person started on the drug is long gone (hey, maybe the drug worked!).

…They call it a “prescribing cascade,” this off-handed continuation of stuff.

…In one case, the researchers said a pharmacy supplying a nursing home suggested a statin for a 100-year-old guy. Statins are long-term preventives and carry a lot of side efx.

…Often these long-term drugs are expensive, too, and hard to metabolize.

…Docs should look at how long it will take for the patient to benefit. Pain relief can be immediate, some of these other things, too long-term.

…Docs also should work with family to set goals.

…Yes, physicians should prescribe based on evidence of effectiveness and safety, but judgment has to have a place, too.

…Speaking of tossing drugs, the AARP Bulletin (Jan 2007) had a neat story on how you should never flush unused or unwanted drugs.

…Trace levels of drugs are being found in 80% of US waterways tested.

…Hormones and antidepressants may be harming fish and wildlife.

…They suggest taking drugs to hazardous waste disposal sites.

…How about the trash?

…Some pharmacies will take back meds, too. Ask!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Being told we're sick is making us sick

…As you know, HA is on a most unwelcome jaunt to Sick World—temporarily, she hopes.

…Yuck, yuck.

…Writing in the New York Times, H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz, and Steven Woloshin talk about how everything is getting too medicalized.

…HA knew that. She wrote a story about premature gray hair after Taylor Hicks won American Idol—and a reviewer put in a bunch of sketchy stuff about gray hair being a symptom or precursor of this and that.

…Heloise (yes, that one) called HA and said she did not have an illness! HA agreed.

…Anyhow these reporters says the biggest health threat we face is our health care system, which has to come up with a diagnosis to get a payday.

…Every twinge these days is restless legs, insomnia, depression or some darn thing.

…Children don’t cough—they have asthma.

…They don’t have trouble reading and need more help—they are dyslexic.

…We even tag people with a label before they get sick—they are at risk.

…What is OK cholesterol? No one knows anymore.

…If over half of us have a diagnosis, what is normal? Maybe being “sick” is normal!

…Labeling someone as sick or at risk make them feel crappy and vulnerable and can cost them jobs and insurance.

…HA once got a label of “severe gallbladder disease” in her chart. She has non-symptomatic gallstones—a third of adults do!

…Worse, if “cures” are prescribed, they can be worse than the so-called disease. Sometimes side efx are only worth a throw if you are really impaired.

…Let’s try to get on with life and toss off these aches and pains and constant treks to doctors.

…If only HA could do this at the moment with her wacky eyeball.

…But that time will come.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Can you force good nursing with quotas?

…Oooo, that irritating peeping sound when IVs are empty. It can go on and on, even if you call for an aide to turn it off or hang more stuff.

….Laura Landro, writing in the WSJ (Dec 13, 2006), says there is ongoing strife between state-mandated nurse/patient ratios and hospital efforts to make do with fewer nurses without compromising care.

…Apparently there is scant evidence that more nurses means better care.

…Most hospitals and nursing societies oppose quotas. The hospitals say if there is a quota and they can’t find the nurses to fill it (half are retiring soon and by 2020, we will be one million nurses low), they might have to close units. In Mass, hospitals support a website on what they are doing. It’s

…The nurse unions, of course, support quotas.

…Others, though, say let’s help the nurses we do have be more efficient—cut their paperwork and scut duties.

…The nurse to patient ratio also needs to be set according to how sick the people are.

…An obstetrics nurse also should not be assigned to intensive care. So the type of nurse is important.

…In other words, the ratio would vary by floor or ward, not by state.

…Computer programs are designed to weigh these factors.

…Yay to all this! All HA knows is that good bedside care can make or break a hospital stay and may be a matter of life and death.

…How about some funding for more nursing schools while we are at it? A million-nurse shortfall is gonna smart.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Health networking--kicky trend in socializing

…HA swears, humans are as chatty, empathetic, and social as meerkats.

…Writing in the WSJ Dec 27, Laura Landro mentions a site called, where people and caregivers chew everything over.

…HA can gratefully report that during her current troubles (health and pet), her online pals have saved her life.

...HA's family was also fabulous. Her daughter waited on her hand and foot and her loyal sister read to her (amazingly fun) and ran errands. Everyone was wonderful and HA is so grateful.

…HA also put up instructions on how to do the facedown retina recovery…to try to pass on the good stuff to someone facing the surgery she had.

…If you know someone facing this, go to

…Podcasts are bursting forward. Google has a new health search engine.

…Cooperative sites called “wikis” are helping people cobble together contact lists and instructions.

…Govts are getting into it, nonprofits, patients, families, helpers.

…Sometimes patients can even have “characters” called avatars to represent them.

…Some sites are three dimensional. See The Centers for Disease Control has even held health fairs on that one! (Special software required.)

…The American Cancer Society uses it to raise money, though.

…Yipes. HA wouldn’t know a wifi if it bit her on her health(y) ass.

…Time to wise up.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wine pills? Are you nuts?

…Zachary M. Seward, writing in the WSJ, advanced the idea that the anti-aging stuff in red wine (resveratrol) could be taken as pills.

…Ooops, the docs don’t even have a clue about whether this is effective.

…Consumers also don’t know how to navigate all the weird claims and dosages.

…The mice got the equivalent of hundreds of glasses of wine (luckies) and did show an increased lifespan.

…Or maybe it seemed longer!

…People ran out and bought these pills, anyhow!

…One guy was pounding them in at the rate ot 36 a day.

…Look, Ma, no hangover!

…A lead researcher decided to start taking the pills, though he won’t say how many.

…Apparently there aren’t many side efx if you take too much. At least that they know of so far.

…The FDA is low-keying it. They can’t regulate a product for being nonsense, but they could do something if it came up as unsafe.

…Aw, just have a nice glass of Pinot Noir and don’t think about it!

…Now, that’s living.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Nosebleed--and not the seats

….Winter dryness, branches to smack while skiing—it could be nosebleed time.

…Connie Midey tackled this attractive topic Dec 26, 2005, in the Arizona Republic.

…Seems Rudolph isn’t the only one.

…HA isn’t sure this applies to large, fictional hooved animals with nasal issues, but in humans the blood vessels in the nose are tiny and close together. Just ripe for rippin’.

…Some people get the “gush” from just leaning over.

…Remember those kids in school that were like that? Both ick and fascinating! They had to get that weird floor compound to clean it up—do they still make that—like adding dirt! Only schools ever did that, HA thinks.

…Anyhow…Of course, little-kid type picking is not the only cause of nosebleeds. Cocaine use can thin tissues and spring leaks, clotting disorders or drugs can be to blame, high blood pressure can be a culprit.

….If you get a nosebleed, forget the cold cloth on the neck routine (the old wives were having an off day).

…Sit up, tilt forward. Squeeze your nose firmly for 10 uninterrupted minutes, no cheating!

…Repeat once if it starts again.

…Call the doc if you think this has gone on more than 20 minutes or something is in the nose or the nose might be broken from an injury.

…A dab of Vaseline in the nose at night prevents most nosebleeds caused by dryness.

…Bleh. Don’t you hate being your own science project?

…By the way? That clothes pin? Joke. Don’t do that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Diabetes resulting in workplace skirmishes

…N.R. Kleinfield, writing in the NYT (Dec 26, 2006), outlines various ways workplace laws and customs discriminate against diabetics—they might fall into a coma, get befuddled, etc.

…Did HA mention that at her niece’s office at Chase JP Morgan, there is a red “sharps” container in the john for people’s needles? That is how common diabetes is in the workplace now.

…One UPS driver who was not allowed to test trucks said he felt like a “damaged piece of meat.”

…Other employees reported not being allowed to eat at their desks at their necessary mealtimes.

…Diabetes costs employers in terms of health care costs, too.

…Often these cases land before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commish.

…This means diabetics have to show they need this protection, but are not so sick that they can’t do their jobs.

…Many people try to cover up their disease on the job. Even being allowed more breaks to eat causes problems for some employees, whose bosses leap into the familiar, “If we do it for you…” refrain.

…Eventually, the truck driver was allowed to regain his commercial license and the EEOC reinstated him.

…UPS is still fighting it.

…HA has some hot news for people: Stuff happens to ya. You lawyers and officious, judgmental, young pup supervisors could be next.

…Why don’t we try to make the workplace safe and fair?