Monday, October 31, 2016

Environmental elements of PCOS

Excessive facial hair can
be a PCOS symptom.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) us a condition with genetic links that affect some women's bodies their entire lives with symptoms such as weight gain, irregular periods, infertility, acne, hair growth on the face, and hair loss.

PCOS also increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as the women ages.

Dr Fiona McCulloch, author of 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS, has some tips for controlling environmental factors contributing to PCOS:

The key is to control endocrine disruptors--meaning factors that affect female hormones.

--PLASTICS. Avoid using plastics---use steel, glass, or ceramic containers. Never heat plastic containers of food in the microwave. Don't reuse plastic bottles. Get canned foods with BPA-free cans. Never use plastic sippy cups for kids.

--FOOD. Choose organic foods--especially "the dirty dozen"--apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, peaches, nectarines, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, and kale./collard. Drink reverse osmosis water. Peel all non-organic fruits and veggies. Avoid nonstick pans.

--BEAUTY. Avoid products listing parabens. Avoid BHA, BHT, Use chemical free soaps whenever possible. Avoid nail products with bibutyl phthalate. Check your products on http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Soy can be a problem for women with PCOS--he vast majority of soy is sprayed with glyphosphate--which we know as Roundup.

Women with PCOS have estrogen secretion issues--soy can complicate that.  So watch the tofu, soy milk lattes, and edamame.

We reuse plastic bottles...and don't buy organic produce. I wonder if we should be looking at this. We don't have PCOS.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Tim Gunn on the science of getting dressed

The design professor turned Project Runway adviser, Tim Gunn, says he believes in semiotics--using signs and symbols such as clothes to influence perception.

Ephrat Livni, writing in Government Executive, says five studies by Columbia University psychologists concluded that dressing up makes people feel more powerful and changes their thinking and way they speak.

When dressed informally, people spoke differently, acted differently.

When dressed formally people are less approachable and appear more powerful.

Clothes can also be a defense mechanism--the late Bill Cunningham, street fashion photographer par excellence, said, "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everydaylife."

Getting dressed is an important rersponsibility, Gunn adds.

The business suit, for example, evolved from European and British court outfit. It was darn easy to wear.

The little black dress also became a go-to.

Gunn recommends giving dressing some thought. Whatever your style, he says, "Make it work."

You may be making more of a statement than you think--and to people you aren't even aware of.

When I was looking for pix of Tim, yes, he was often in his signature pinstripes, but he also had on a black leather jacket in one, pressed jeans in another. He also is not afraid to pattern-mix. But whatever he dons, he always looked polished.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Less than 7 hrs of sleep? Here is the price you pay

According to BlackHealthMatters.com, experts say we need a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night.

But currently, sleep deprivation is considered a health epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 30% of adults sleep less than six hours a night.

What does this do to your body?

Sleep is a brain function, reminds Shalini Paruthi, MD, associate professor at Saint Louis University and spoxperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. When you don't get enough shuteye, the effects are immediate.

--Your abililty to react quickly slows down.

--You make mistakes. (Under four hours lowers your reaction time to that of a person under the influence--driving sleep-deprived is like driving drunk.)

--Your mood and ability to control your emotions are affected--you are more grouchy and irritable, sad or angry.

--Your heart is affected--those who sleep under six hours a night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack.

--Your blood sugar levels are affected, resulting in a pre-diabetic condition.

--Your metabolism slows--making it harder to lose weight or keep it off.

--Your appearance suffers. It's not called beauty sleep for nothing. You can have redder eyes, darker under-eye circles,  more wrinkles.

--Your love life will suffer. More fights, less sex.

Sooo--turn off those blue screens and check out. You are excused for seven hours.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's in that Halloween candy--no, not razor blades

Charles Platkin, PhD, executive director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College and editor of DietDetective.com, looks at the ingredients of Halloween candy.

CANDY CORN. This stuff  has been around 100 yrs. First ingredient: Sugar. But not high fructose corn syrup.  But these waxy little treats also contain "confectioner's glaze"--This is "lac resin"--a secretion of the lac bug. Yes, a bug...or larvae of a bug. Basically, this is edible shellac. Candy corn also contains gelatin (made from animal hides and bones).

Now to the flavoring. In candy corn, it's artificial. This means it has been "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. Yellow 6 can cause allergic reactions. Same for Yellow 5--esp to people with aspirin issues. Red 3 has been known to cause thyroid tumors in rats and has been replaced in many items by Red 40.

SMARTIES. Dextrose, calcium stearate, citric acid, and dyes. Dextrose is sugar. Calcium stearate  is a fatty acid that appears in almost all fats.  The dyes are "lakes," a term for dye used in fatty foods--to be avoided. Blue 2 (LAKE) may cause brain cancer in rats--though the FDA says there is "reasonable certainty of no harm."

That is just two. Am I being a big buzzkill? All the more reason, I say, to give the tots chocolate...and lots of it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kids could be key to saving the honeybees

First time ever--seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees have hit the Endangered Species List.

These bees, which resemble small wasps more than regular bees, were able to get to Hawaii on their own, rather than being imported or stowing away on ships, built up colonies and now are in decline. The protected status will help stabilize them.

But what about the honeybee you may see out your window? Like all pollinators around the world, bees are in crisis in the US.

A prominent children's writer, Robbie Shell, has published a book called Bees on the Roof (Amazon).

The story is fiction, but the plight of the bees is real.  The hero, Sam, needs to find a science fair project and save his dad's restaurant. He and three friends raise bees on a roof in NYC. Included in the story is a great deal of info on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is threatening crops relying on pollination by bees. This disorder occurs when the bees in a hive disappear, leaving the queen, food, nurse bees and baby bees with no worker bees to bring nectar back to the hive.

What causes this? Several things. Scientists think, anyway. One is the overuse of pesticides and also the attack of parasites (varroa mites) and other pests. Another factor are zombie flies--which lay their eggs in the bees' abdomens, which then hatch and the larvae eat the bees' brains, creating ZomBees.
These afflicted bees may then fly off and leave the queen.

This book could get your child interested in science in general.

Shell says she first got interested in this when he visited her brother's backyard beehives. When she saw that these incredible creature were in danger of being wiped out, she took action.

Oh--and don't forget--if the bees go, so does a lot of the food we eat.


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Monday, October 24, 2016

Diabetics--Go to the eye doc!

With only one sighted eye, I am eye-conscious. Yet, even I have not been to the eye doc for more than a year.

Still, I don't suffer from diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently looked at 2,000 patients over age 40 with type 1 and type 1 diabetes.

Over a four-year period:

--58% did not have regular followup eye exams

--Smokers were 20% less like to have such exams.

--Those with less severe disease and no eye problems (yet) were least likely to follow recommendations.

--Those who already had diabetic retinopathy were 30% more likeluy to have followups.

Well, duh, on that last!

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at risk for blinding eye problems.

Exams can reveal problems early enough to treat them. Diabetics should see an ophthalmologist once a a year.


Friday, October 21, 2016

New in the world of beauty

The October issue of Marie Claire highlights some advances from Beauty Lab, an incubator where various companies partner with the magazine to create new beauty approaches.

PERFUME. I tear out those perfume samples in the mags all the time--but they sort of smell like paper. So people shop online--but how can you tell if a scent meshes well with your own chemistry? Pinrose.com has a quiz based on syesthesia--the brain phenom of senses mixing, as in say, smelling a color.  Or you could go to The Harmonist (harmonist.com) to use Chinese astrology to match yourself to a new perfume. Or--if you insist--you can get two samples of scent for $10 at phlur.com.

NAILS. There is new technology. The Inail S8 printer ($2000+) will be coming to nail salons. It deposits designs on your nails. For home use, Preemadonna's Nailbot--pick a design, stick your finger in the machine...for $199 by year's end.

BEAUTY BOXES. From Influenster;s VoxBoxes (influenster.com)--Blog or write reviews and you can get free full-size products to review. With PlumPerfect's Girl Seeks Sample plan (plumperfect.com), you upload a photo and get customized suggestions of products. Samples are two bucks or less.

WANT TO LOOK LIKE SOMEONE? With Rimmel London's new app (iTunes, google), you click on a face with makeup you love and learn which of the brand's products will achieve it.

And new and hot now in beauty nutrition? Fortified Honey. Forget green juice--it's over. Go to naturopathica.com.

You look mahvelous, darling!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How to "talk" about addiction

If you have someone in your circle or family who is addicted to substances, this can get very fraught. It seems so intractable, so expensive, so avoidable--you may want to lash out at times.

But you have to remember, says addiction specialist  Russell Surasky, Surasky Neurological Center for Addiction, that we have to become more sensitive to words that stigmatize. Addition is a disease, it lays waste to families and entire communities.

Addiction is a chronic ailment that changes the structure and functioning of  the brain.

We don't refer to people with physically apparent disabilities as spastics, cripples, or crazies, do we?

Shouldn't we regard addicts with respect and confer their dignity, too?

Surasky recommends:

--Avoid words like crackhead, junkie and addict. People with cancer recover--we don't refer to them as ex-cancer patients. But we often say ex-addict. Instead use words  like "person struggling with addiction," or "person with a substance use (not abuse) disorder."

--Avoid "drug abuse" and "substance abuse."  These sound like child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse.

--The word addict labels a person...preferable is use of the word "addiction."

If you have this situation in your family, you know the person is not a weak crackhead or something--so let's clean up the language.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Look who's happy

How about "beachin'"?
I have a sort of weird one for you today.

According to a story in Nextgov by Ellie Anzilotti, Spur Projects, a suicide-prevention group, collected data on people's moods from around the world in an app called How Is the World Feeling?

They looked at 7 million people's emotions periodically over the course of one week.

Users of the app were asked to select from six possible emotions:
--Happy
--Sad
--Angry
--Anxious
--Powerful
--Peaceful

The author of the piece was contacted and and was relatively happy working, surrounded by people, and indicated she was HAPPY. The app then informed her that around 7,000 people were also happy at that moment. 9,000 came in as peaceful. And 6,000 were anxious.

A map was presented showing distribution. Most of the data points were in the US, Europe, and Australia. But one person in Lebanon came on as angry, and one in Laos was happy.

The idea, apparently, is for people to check in on how they are feeling from time to time during the day. They also think this data trove will help structure work and workplaces--say more people are Happy at quitting time--what does that tell them?

As I said, this is weird. For one thing, I think they need more emotions...I discussed this with three people...One said they need OK on the list. Another said WORRIED. How about CONTENTED. Or AFRAID? And when I asked my daughter which one she was at that moment, she said HUNGRY.

But for what it's worth...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eating fruit may stave off macular degeneration

Coffee may also be a plus when it comes to avoiding this potentially blinding condition that affects the macula--or center of the retina.

Many studies, of course, have confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet--fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, healthy fats and fish--with red meat and butter as side dishes at most. Olive oil is featured.

This diet has been shown pretty convincingly to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cancer.

Researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal  studied 883 people 55 and older in the central region of the country (2013-15). Of that number, 449 had age-related macular degeneration in its early stages (before vision loss). Four-hundred thirty-four did not have it.

The researchers assessed their diets. The more foods they are from the Med Diet, the higher the score from 0-9.

Below six--50% had AMD. Of those who .did eat the Med Diet foods a lot of the time--only 39% had AMD.

This represents a 35% lower risk.

Fruits were especially beneficial.

Also protective were caffeine and antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamins C&E, were also measurably beneficial.

Caffeine is not part of the Med Diet but is a powerful antioxidant.

The research was sponsored by Novartis, I should note.

Still, could it hurt to eat more fruit?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rock stars don't eat healthy

First, there is a publication called Medical Problems of Performing Artists.

In the June issue, researchers from Saint Louis University surveyed 35 musicians and found that 80% considered healthy eating to be a priority.

More than 75% said they felt confident making healthy choices.

And 82% said they knew how to cook in a healthy way.

BUT--they also had problems getting access to healthy foods, with venue concession food, last-minute buffets, fast food, and airport food being so heavily featured in their lives.

Also--others on tour may not support their desire for healthier foods.

In other words, cheeseburgers in paradise may not be paradise.

And musicians are physical--they work nights, travel days, may not sleep well, and then must prance around on stage like a athlete.

What is the solution? Maybe better buffets backstage--lose the M&Ms. More trips to the grocery store for fruit.

Trisha Yearwood has a Food Channel show using her southern recipes--and even she says she is glad to get home cooking, even if she cooks it herself.

Friday, October 14, 2016

More than half of routine mammograms result in unneeded treatment

According to a story by Melissa Healy in the Los Angeles Times, more than half of breast cancers detected in the US are cases of  mistaken identity--resulting in needless anxiety, distasteful treatment, and expense.

Mammograms as a life-saving tool, say the researchers (New England J of Medicine), have been "significantly overstated," according to this article.

These findings also indicate that breast cancer is way more complex than initially believed.

In the early 1970s, experts believed that a small lump would almost certainly grow and spread.

But now--researchers believe a tumor's genetics as the interaction of tumor and host are better predictors of progression than size.

In short, "when in doubt cut it out" is resulting in collateral damage.

In 2016, doctors in the US will diagnose 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer, along with 61,000 cases of non-invasive (in the ducts).

The National Cancer Institute figures that the majority detected by the routine screen mammograms will never become deadly. About 20% maybe would have progressed.

So how to tell the difference? Waiting and seeing "is a choice," as one doctor put it.

What accounts for the decreased mortality from b/c? Better therapy when a cancer does progress, the doctors say, not early detection.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What about exercise at "that time of the month"?

In August, Fu Yuanhui, won the Bronze for the 100-meter backstroke and was excited--adding that she had her period and was weak and tired but pushed through it.

Some observers were shocked--such things are not mentioned in China. But the real message missed was that is may be a myth that menstruation impairs athletic performance (also that it's unsafe to swim while having your period).

According to Robert H. Shmerling, MD, faculty editor of Harvard Business Publications, in high school some classmates were even told they were more likely to be injured while having their period.

Often, injuries to female athletes are blamed on "hormones." There are some studies to back this up. If this is an effect, Shmerling says, it's not clear what to do about it.

And the data are inconsistent:

--Some swimmers have poorer performance just before their period and improved times during.

--Cross-country skiers were best right after their period and after ovulation (mid-cycle).

--In one study, long jump distances may be better during one's period.

But, of course, not feeling well--crampy, tired, headachy--may affect performance. In one study, taking a pain medicine for cramps improve performance.

Good training can overcome most of this.

But thanks to Fu Yuanhui for brining this out. Interesting topic.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Live doc versus app--doc wins

A computer acing a chess champ is pretty normal these days, but how do computer-based diagnosis apps fare against real live doctors?

According to a new study at Harvard--the docs win. (JAMA Internal Medicine, Oct 10, 2016)

Doctors make the correct diagnosis more than twice as often as 23 commonly used symptom-checker apps.

Diagnostic errors mean failing to recognize a disease or do so in a timely way.

Computers are good at checklists reduce medical errors--but apparently not so great at coming up with correct diagnoses based on symptoms.

In this study, 234 internists were asked to evaluate 45 clinical cases involving both common and uncommon conditions.

The docs reached the correct diagnosis first 72% of the time. The digital platforms--34%.

The docs also excelled at nailing the uncommon conditions. The computers and physicians were closer on the common things.

Still, physicians made errors 15% of the time. Just because the machines were worse may be faint consolation.

The solution--the machines need more game. Maybe the doctors, too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

VR for kids to distract from needlesticks

Credit: Nationwide Children's Hospital
Kids with hemophilia  (bleeding disorder) get lots of blood tests--the dreaded needle.

Charmaine Biega, RN, a nurse clinician at the hemophilia treatment center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, watched the youngsters freak out for nearly 30 years.

Some ended up with lifelong needle anxiety.

Then she watched some of her little patients actually have fun during painful procedures--thanks to a virtual reality experience called Voxel Bay, created by experts from Nationwide and students from Ohio State.

The first kid to get his treatment through an IV while engaged with the game barely flinched.

The headset developed by the team is lightweight and meant for small children.

So far this is just a pilot study.

They are also looking into how this could be adapted for home use.

If kids can be spared fear and pain, which can also enhance the effectiveness of the treatment--what a win-win.

Let's get on it!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pre-sex meds than can reduce HIV risk

According to a Johns Hopkins study published in the Am J of Preventive Medicine, only four out of 10 bisexual men without HIV in Baltimore knew there was a once-a-day pill that can reduce the incidence of HIV, including in those who have unprotected sex with men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even recommends this for such people at risk.

In 2011, the incidence of HIV in such men was 18%--it is now 31%. Yet only 5% of at-risk men take this drug.

The researchers say doctors need to take time to tell their patients about this drug, even though time in medical encounters is often limited.

When people are diagnosed with HIV, they usually get a three-drug regimen. The pre-exposure drug is two of those in one pill.

The side effects are mild.

Once people learn of the drug, 60% agree to take it. The researchers liken it to a birth control pill--to prevent an unwanted event.

I't a safe, effective tool, the researchers say, but it's no good if no one is using it.

Perhaps--they add--doctors are thinking back to the early days when AZT caused horrible side effects--that is not the case here.

This PrEP medication, as it's called, reduces the risk of getting HIV by 92% with minimal side effects.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Dog to human disease transmission neglected

I love dogs--but you have to admit their personal hygiene is not the greatest. A toilet cocktail, a rear-end meet and greet, a frolic amidst feces at the dog park...well, they are pretty casual about germs.

Veterinarians at Ohio State are leading an effort to stop of the spread of doggie diseases.

Their program can be seen in the J or Veterinary Medical Assn. http://go.osu.edu/Dk9risk

The Ohio state people say we are probably 30 years behind in infection control compared to human medicine.

The emphasis is on dogs in groups, say dog shows and dog parks.

Some recommendations:

--Dogs with signs of infection should be kept out of group settings.

--People who touch dogs in group settings should wash their hands frequently or use sanitizer.

--Items in community settings such as leashes, bowls, toys, etc should be disinfected regularly.

--Dogs should have UTD vaccinations, rabies, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, Bordetella, and rabies.

--Try to keep rodents and wildlife out of dog areas and dogs out of tick and flea areas.

--Dogs should be cleaned after a group encounter and kept clean.

--Special care should be taken with puppies and dogs with weaker immune systems.

What this means in practice:

--A dog show judge should use sanitizer between dogs if pulling open mouths to look at their teeth.

--Parks depts should keep dog park grass short and eliminate standing water in dog parks.

Thirty-five percent of American households have at least one dog.

And every dog likes to romp with others and play kissy-face with owners. Think about all that.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The coming role of bots in your health care

"How YOU doin'?"
Writing on MedCity, Andis Robezierks says important health care info must be transmitted more and more in shorter sessions with the doctor.

Yet patients need to process information gradually--say about a cancer diagnosis.

Geri Lynn Baumblatt, executive director of patient engagement for Emmi, says one in four women experience PSTD when diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her company helps deliver the message when people are overwhelmed or shut down.

Could a "bot" help in this process?

Sometimes "the human touch" is not called for.

In a virtual session, patients will ask or answer embarrassing questions more often..

Her company constantly tweaks the recorded messages--one sentence, one word...

They never use a robot voice--they use a human voice. A man or a woman's voice? They determine which groups prefer which.

Following up on hospital discharge is another role for bots. Often discharge info is sketchy--my daughter's was, see below.

The bot can determine if the patient is depressed (my daughter was), confused or has some new side effects.

What do you think? A human woman called about my daughter--but she made it clear she was in a hurry.

Still, I despise those canned robot speeches..."Can I provide more information on that?" Ugh.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

It's flu shot time again

"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable," says Thomas Frieden, MD, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yet--only one-third of adults between 18 and 49 get vaccinated.

--Some people believe the vaccine is ineffective because some vaccinated people still get the flu.

--Some even think the vaccine MAKES you get it--again because you can still get it in come cases even though you are vaccinated. (I had pneumonia twice and I have had the pneumonia vaccine--nothing is perfect--this is a game of odds.)

Yet--every year 5%-20% of Americans get the darn flu! More than 200,000 people end up hospitalized. Thousands die of it.

Yet, all these stats and all this info seems to be backfiring--people think why the hard sell?

Plans are afoot to mobilize more community volunteers to talk to neighbors. More public service ads and videos. More celebrity ads.

Despite my child having emergency surgery and my arthritic self not being able to get to the doctor to get my prescriptions renewed, I did get a flu shot (while waiting for my daughter's prescriptions).

But you should know the nasal mist form of the vaccine is now not given, which may create more suspicion. And we don't know yet how good a guess they made on what strains of the flu will be coming.

Oh--and older people should get a more intensive form. Ask about it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Two-thirds of all people want more rest

According to a survey done by Durham University researchers, 68% of the public would like to get more rest.

--32% thought they needed more rest than the average person

--10% thought they needed less

The online survey encompassed 18,000 people from 134 countries.

Those who thought they needed more rest scored lower in well-being. Those who didn't feel that scored higher.

They also asked which activities people found most restful.

--Reading--58%

--Being out in nature--53%

--Being on their own--52%

--Listening to music--40%

--Doing nothing in particular--40%

Younger people with higher income reported testing less in the past 24 hrs.

Since the most restful activities seemed to be done on one's own, the researchers suggested maybe this should be taken into consideration in the workplace.

Zzzzz.....what? I am here...

Monday, October 03, 2016

Observations after three days in a hospital

On Wednesday night, my 34-yr-old daughter woke me moaning in pain. Terrible abdominal pains. It was about 1 AM. I said should I call an ambulance. She said no, let her try to sleep.

About 7 AM, she was still in agony. I am crippled up with arthritis and can't walk 50 feet. I figured I could get a wheelchair at the hospital and we set off  in a cab. I got the driver to get a wheelchair, I leaned on it and pushed her in.

No one was there--uncrowded--they took her first thing. We spent the next 12 hours waiting basically--blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan...wait wait wait. They did give her some heavy duty pain meds--so she was somewhat relieved and could breathe better.

Turns out it was her gallbladder, a big stone in the duct and many inside.  But she also was discovered to have crazy-high blood pressure--a curse in our family. No operation until that came down somewhat--not to normal--but down. They said her blood tests were "fine."

After dark, they moved her to "Observation," a section with no bathrooms in the rooms--patients must go out in the hall and find a bathroom. No doors--just a pull curtain. But she had a more comfy bed.

We wondered was this because she officially had no insurance--was this the cheap seats? She had just gotten on at Walmart and her plan would not cut in for 2 more months. They also tried to see if she could get Medicaid. But officially--no insurance.

The surgeon they called did not show up. He called and said her BP was too bad--maybe he would operate Friday. I looked him up when I got home--Russian.

The next morning--Friday--I got there about 10 AM. Surgery was scheduled for 1:30--it took place about 4:00, by the way. She was still in a lot of pain.

When the FINALLY took her to the pre-op area, I came with in my wheelchair, feeling like a dork. Again, it was 2 hours of fiddling with the computer (the obsession of everyone we met in there). A anesthesiologist was chatty, answered my questions--such as would she be taking care of anyone else under anesthesia or just my kid--just my kid ,she said, Was she an MD? Yes. What anesthetic would my daughter get--propolol.

THEN, it turned out she switched with another guy who had never talked to my daughter or me. I requested he talk to me and asked him the same questions--he made it clear it was a big imposition to be questioned.

When the surgeon FINALLY turned up, he had very broken English, a huge guy (who specializes in weight loss surgery, I had learned). He was gloomy--Very very uncontrolled blood pressure, very risky, etc. What could we do at that point?

SHE LIVED! Afterward, he lectured me about how she needed to lose weight (and of course, I did, too)--etc--recruiting for his other surgery? Don't know. He said we must come down to his office--I said we have no car--he said that was our problem... He also advised me to make her get Obamacare...with a $5,000 deductible, big help!

He also said her gallbladder was very infected. The blood tests had not been fine--very bad, he grumped. (When she left, no antibiotic prescription--so was it infected or not?)

She had a terrible reaction to the anesthesia--pulled out all her tubes, was raving and crying...Later she asked me what she did...

She had a drain in--they said I would learn to take care of it, empty it, etc. Luckily, he came by Sat morning and ripped it out--she was sobbing in pain, but that cleared and she had eaten some bites and felt perkier. She informed this guy that we would not be coming to his office. He snorted, turned on his heel and exited. No stitches, no drain--I figure we don't need to. If she has a problem--urgent care or even the ER again.

So...what did I conclude? First, having a companion when you are in the hospital is ESSENTIAL. I was not always effective, but made my presence known. Second, we encountered some very sweet, helpful people--but also some mean crabs. Why the latter get people contact jobs, I have no idea. It makes it difficult.

And third--despite all this, we did get her taken care of. So yay for that!

We are home and both convalescing pretty nicely.