Monday, December 31, 2012

Did your college student pick at dinner?


When your kid comes home from college, she (or even he) may be one of the 25% of young people who have developed an eating disorder.

This is usually described as a "silent club," hiding the starving, laxatives, bingeing or purging from loved ones.

Is your child staying away from the family a lot?

Obsessed with appearance? "I am so fat!"

Will the kid eat with the family or claim to have "stuffed" earlier?

Is food disappearing from the fridge?

Does the kid run to the john after meals?

Parents should gently raise this--but the kid may be defensive and pitch a fit.

Avoid words like heavy, fat and thin.

Maybe you can ask about the campus meal plan--did you like the food?

Eating disorders are only about food on the surface--mostly they are about self-image, a place in the world, anxiety, and control.

College is a time all of these come to the fore.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Walking while drunk--splat

Drinking and driving don't mix--duh. But our friends at Loyola say your reactions can be just as dangerous when walking after drinking.

Drinking impairs judgment and coordination--as we know.

A trauma surgeon of 25 years' standing at Loyola says between 2009 and 2010, 105 people were treated at Loyola after being hit by cars. Almost 30% had some level of alcohol in their systems.

Almost a fourth were legally drunk.

New Year's Day, ironically, is more deadly for pedestrians than New Year's Eve.

If walking at night, don't wear dark-colored clothes.

Walk only on sidewalks.

Walk in a group.

Give drivers more chance to react--they may be under the influence, too.

Don't send a guest home in a can--give them a pillow.

The bad news--they may fall down your stairs and sue you.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Never too cold to get colder

The guys at Loyola say winter is a great time to exercise.

Even if you're layered under sweatshirts, you can get benefits.

The problem is getting motivated--it's warm and comfy--why go outside and force stiff legs into action and flood your body with frigid air?

I guess cuz it's good for us.

Wear a hat, scarf and gloves. You don't want frostbite. Boy THAT sounds inviting.

Wear proper shoes and socks. Waterproof and maybe two pairs of socks.

Wear layers--you can shed as you get warmer.

Avoid cotton near your skin--it gets wet.

Stay hydrated.

As for motivation--keep a pair of summer shorts around and see if they still fit.

Purchase a gym membership.

Make veggies in the crock pot.

And, no, hydrating does NOT mean a flask.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What you never want to hear: OOPS


I had a painful eye abrasion--super painful. They had told me a couple of yrs ago that they had mistakenly cut the nerve to the surface of my eye in more bad operations. Ooops.

Well--ooops--maybe this was not true--maybe the mistake was mistakenly reported. Because some nerve was working!

Go to the doctor--roll the dice!

Surgeons still make 4,000 errors a year. Wrong patient, wrong side of body, wrong limb, leave stuff behind. Big things!

Johns Hopkins researchers looked at this. These are called "never" events--because they should never happen.

A lot of things are being tried, such as timeouts before surgery, a pause to be sure this is the right patient, the right body part.

Barcodes for instruments--then a wanding to see if any are left inside. This is another approach.

They also mark the limb to be operated with an indelible pen.

Some people also suggest withholding payment if the hospital lets something horrible happen.

Keep working on it!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Oh, please, I would never do this!


Our buds at Loyola tell us today that if you are at a holiday gathering and an elderly relative "smells bad," you should take the person to the ER as their Christmas present.

First, no way.

Second, then YOU will be in the ER.

Three, what do you say--this guy or gal may be too drifty to take a shower?

They also say contact the person's doctor. Hello--holiday!!

Yes, you can tell is someone is slipping, but unless they are dehydrated, have fallen, or are talking weirdly, this is not an ER issue.

Yes, the ER is great on holidays if you have some alarming symptoms. Go if you need to! But for this--Aunt Mildred isn't herself...That is a WHOLE 'nother project and not quickly accomplished.

The Christimas gathering, however, could be a chance for all relatives to talk and plan some action.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Doctors are not good diet counselors


The feds are urging primary doctors to help fat people lose weight--this horrible "epidemic" that is crushing the country, etc etc.

When you go for a checkup (do they have those anymore?) and you're fat, the doctor may ask are you interested in dieting?

To me, this should be phrased, are you interested in yet another discouraging, soul-sapping run at losing a few pounds--even 5% of your body weight would help!!

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says primary care physicians are not qualified to give weight counseling.

Less than half of them in one study had any success in this area.

Most doctors thought dietitians and nutritionists were better at it. Anybody but them. Can people use their insurance to come every two weeks for a weigh-in. Are pages photocopied from a diet book medical advice?

Are nutritionists reimbursed by insurance? Sometimes.

I have had doctors say eat less, move more. Yeah--got it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chubby Bunny!

Is this for rill?

I guess it is, since the people at the Loyola Health System got into it--but it seems so stupid--even for young people without a lick of common sense, that my mouth fell open.

Kids abuse Christmas spices!

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and marshmallows.

"The envelope is always being pushed," said one doctor.

Loyola treated a dozen pre-teens in the ER. A group of 9-yr-olds tried The Cinnamon Challenge--swallowing a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon without water. This makes you cough and choke!

The internet tells kids it's fun.

Cinnamon calls are up at poison control!

Ground nutmeg (I had heard this before) is snorted or eaten to produce a pot-like high. Kids also abuse hand sanitizer.

And now the marshmallows. You stuff as many in your mouth as you can and try to say Chubby Bunny. Kids have choked TO DEATH doing this.

There is also a drug called K2 or Spice. Drugs tests cannot detect it.

And we thought the Sixties were bad. They were--but not as delicious.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Common sense--remember that?

Those old wives! They had some smarts.

I read a fun list the other day. On eating. Don't eat anything your grandmother or great-grandmother would not think was food. Splenda? Squirt cheese? Avoid imitation foods--such as nondairy cheese. Or neutraceuticals--so-called food with medicine in it.

Watch out for foods with health claims. No fat? Could be chemicals instead. Artificial fiber in a sugary food--it is suddenly healthy?

Treat meat as a flavoring. No more than five ounces a day.

If you don't know what it is--don't eat it. monocalcium phosphate? Sound delish?

Eat the rainbow--all colors. The colored foods have the punch.

Don't drink punch (I added that).

Sweeten and salt food yourself--after tasting a bite!Eat slower.

Cook your own food.

Cook? OK--now they have gone too far!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ask about these drugs


Resolved: Not to throw down a ton of antibiotics


I hate New Year’s Resolutions—I feel so guilty when I fail almost immediately. I skip the middle man and hardly even try.

I also hate taking a bunch of medicine—and sometimes you have to if some cootie is threatening your life, comfort, or vision.

Jane Brody, the New York Times’ healthy maven, says many popular antibiotics can have bad side effects. One class is fluoroquinolones, which include Cipro, which I have been dripping into my eye for weeks.

I could not afford the $140 drops (and that is WITH insurance). Well, these things are the stuff of lawsuits.

So far as I can tell, I got away with it. But a guy in this article taking Levaquin had horrible aches and vision problems. Well, now that you mention it, I had headaches…and already had a vision problem.

That guy now needs a physical therapist.

You can also get hallucinations and depression. And fibromyalgia type pain--and they give this for fibro! Ack!

And if the “bugs” don’t happen to encounter enough of the killing juice, they can develop an immunity to it and kill you or the next person they jump into.

So, when the doctor says here is come "cipro," what do you do?

Always something, isn’t it?

Monday, December 17, 2012

The dreaded doctor clipboard



I hate that repetitive mess! Do they ever read their own stupid clipboard? Just asking what operations you have had in the whole length of your life—when you are there for hearing checkup—is not a medical history. It’s medical hysterics.

I had someone ask who was the doctor who did your sinus surgery? I was 14! I said—some friend of my parents.

They also don’t need your SS number—do you want that floating around the office? Leave it blank. No one has ever questioned me.

I hate them photocopying your license. Butt out! Look at it—it’s you, hand it back.

How about putting diseases and conditions on there that people get—shingles, atrial fib, for two examples.

No one reads the thing anyhow and now they will turn it over to the nosy-parker feds if someone asks.

If the doctor is curious about you, he or she can ask a relevant question—you have a rash, could it be shingles?

Sheesh.

And when you do find things wrong—they won’t change it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Organic--worth the money?



Someone told me she had a friend who would eat ANYTHING that said organic. Well, if it’s not a rock, it’s organic.

Of course, she meant lovingly free-ranged or fertilized with mulch and not chemicals or something. There is no real definition.

Everything in the store says ORGANIC.

Ever go to Sprouts? That store smells umm….organic all right.

Academics are pretty snooty about food so they studied this, natch. At Stanford, no less.

Basically, they found that organic oranges did not have more Vitamin C. Non-organic veggies (impossible) had more pesticide residue, yes, but within limits allowed.

Au contraire, shouted the organic fans! Meat was less likely to have antibiotics!

This was a meta-analysis—they slammed together 237 studies and did not do more work. So at least they researchers were not influenced by Big Farm or anyone.

Where does that leave us? If you think organic is better and you can afford it, you will probably buy it. Usually, those veggies contain more phosphorus—but most people are not hurting for phosphorus.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Still some left


The WSJ had a story by Ellen Byron on how newly thrifty people are cutting, gouging, squeezing, and bludgeoning the last drop of face cream and shampoo out of bottles.

So don’t feel like a Scrooge. It’s the rage!

With plastic tubes you can cut off the end…or slit the whole thing.

With little jars, scrape your finger around the bottom inside.

Shake contents downward in bottles.

Add water.

Store upside down.

What are you missing? Well, with a jar, as much as 10%. Tootpaste tube, 3-5%. Squeeze bottle, 2-6%. Shampoo—up to 10%! And those dip-tube pumps—a quarter!

I pull those tubes out and rub the stuff on me.

So there!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tell your kid to sleep (in a bed) before exams


Forget cramming. NoDoz (does that still exist?)., Red Bull. Adderall.

The Harris Health Sleep Disorders Center at Baylor says students should go to class regularly, study throughout the semester, maybe have a study review in the evening, then sleep the night before exams.

Quaint, what.

Memory and recall are better if you are rested.

As we have said before, college students need 8 to 9 hours a night.

What is the best time to study—between 6 and 8 PM, the docs said.

Lose the caffeine, it keeps pumping for 8 hrs.

Chronic sleep deprivation can also result in weight gain, as well as failing grades, stupidity, and enraged parents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Docs and social media



I am in another medical jackpot—painful, frustrating—a horrible scratched cornea. I have seen four eye docs—I have tried to call on weekends—and go through “tech” after “tech,” no answers, cannot talk to the doctor or any of the doctors.

Yeeps!

Now a new study shows one in four physicians uses social media and the internet each day to get and contribute new info.

I am glad these docs can keep up this way—my Dad used to read journals.

This study is a year and a half old—probably more do it now.

Could I tweet with my cornea doc? No. I don’t tweet anyhow.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Helping our fellow woman

Fellow woman—weird phrase.

Anyhow, around these parts, there is a drive to help the local abused women’s shelter. We had a similar drive in DC, I remember.

These places need nonviolent toys, gift cards, nonperishable food, robes, day planners, little toothpastes and creams, slippers.

Bring home things from hotel bathrooms—these are great!

Other ideas are art supplies, socks,cardigans, books, you can probably think of more.

Don’t hesitate because you think these women should have left—don’t blame them! They DID leave and now they need you.

PS Don't giftwrap before dropping off.

Friday, December 07, 2012

The virtue of roots

Jennifer McClellan, AZ Republic, Dec 7, 2012, talks about Diane Morgan’s cookbook called Roots: The Definitive Compendium.

Roots can be gnarly and dirty-looking, but they cook into delicious hearty dishes such as borscht, and yam and sesame patties.

First, buy the root—then find a recipe. Even rutabagas can be a dessert, if you are feeling bold.

Roots have tons of vitamins and fiber. And the added plus of letting you freak out your friends.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Those hand-drying blowers

You know those wall-mounted hot air thingies for drying hands?

Paper towels are better.

For one thing, people see the blower, know it’s slow, and don’t wash.

Or they give up while it’s blowing and wipe on jeans or shirt.

Also it takes more energy to run a blower than make a paper towel.

Blowers can also hurl crud 3-6 feet.

You can also use a paper towel to open the bathroom door if you want.

I have always suspected this…

Of course, those baskets of towels or towels all over the floor are also yucky.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

About that Electronic Medical Record


I go to the doctor and see all the illogic and craziness so you don’t have to. You can thank me later.

Yesterday, I had two eye doc appts in one office—two specialists. Hours apart—we had to come back.

When we got back the second time, they tested my vision AGAIN—it had been hours before. They asked the same questions answered hours before.

Finally we said we just did all this. And the tech said each doctor here creates his own record in his own template.

Why—we asked, without screaming, I am proud to say.

To get paid, she responded.

Soooo…bottom line, the patient’s time and um…patience is worth nothing. All this talk of waste in the system is just talk. All this silly repetition will be sent to the Feds (more on that sometime), and this is dumb as two boxes of hair (twice as dumb as one box).

We have also come across errors in these records—and they will not change them. So there you have it, folks—we are done for!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Time for more toy safety tips


It’s Christmas or whatever you call your gift-giving tradition—and the docs at Cincinnati Children’s are reminding us of things to look for in a toy.

Me, personally, I am older than dirt and would like a Teddy Bear—this year has been…well…a bear.

The eyes can even pop out—I promise not to swallow them.

But you do have to look for that aspect if you give a kid a stuffed animal—embroidered eyes maybe?

Read the warning labels before leaving the store! Good one! I actually have never done it.

Avoid sharp edges and points.

For little kids—make sure the toy or parts are at least an inch across and two inches long. I would say more.

Forget that crummy kid jewelry—it can contain toxic metals.

Avoid toys with button batteries—kids eat those like Tic Tacs.

Forget toys with high-powered magnets.

I once got my daughter the most adorable little fur jacket—but she had just learned to read and it said rabbit fur and she tossed it! Ah, the humanity!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Walk at least

Less than a quarter of people in the US walk or bike to get where they are going.

Those who do, though, have lower body mass indexes (are not as fat) and smaller waists. Also lower—their odds of high blood pressure.

This is from a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Pardon me, but haven’t people been saying this for years? Should we do it just to shut them up?

Cities have put in walking and bike paths, rental bikes, free bikes, insurance payments for compliance, everything they can think of.

At least consider it?

This is called “active transportation,” by the way. We used to call it walking to work and I used to do it in 3-inch heels. Those days are gone.