Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Old Bones

Okay, I'm 45 years old. That's not very old , but if you fall down, you can feel old.

For example: On Saturday I was cleaning the tub. Not usually a dangerous event, unless you are short (like me) and the shower walls are high. Well, I reached up and proceeded to fall down. I'm now bruised from shoulder to thigh with exquisit pain in my right side. Now, a few years ago (okay, maybe more than a few!) I would have bounced right back. But now? NO. I'm stiff, sore, aching, and slow. I FEEL very old - but, if I was really in bad shape I probably would have broken something - like my hip or arm.

So the moral to my story? 1: Get a kid to do the high cleaning (not likely) 2: Get the daily dose of Calcium and Vitamin D required to keep your bones strong so that a fall such as mine will result only in bruised muscles and ego, and not broken bones. Another example of taking responsibility for your body and your health.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Tomorrow night, my youngest son, Keith, will graduate from High School.


I'm starting to feel just a little old. Not decrepit or anything, but just old. I remember my graduation. I went to a large all female Catholic school in Chicago. Our class was so big, we held our ceromony at Chicago's Arie Crown Theatre.

Keith's will be in the "new" gym at the school. Folding chairs, the high school band doing the Star Spangled banner and Pomp and Circumstance, a favorite teacher giving the commencment speech. Some of the same teachers that were there when my husband graduated in 1981 will be there - still teaching the same subjects - just one (and sometimes two) generations later. Some will retire this year - but will probably substitute teach next year. Some will be there for Keith's kids (if they stay in the same small town). Continuity is great, but it can bring a feeling of stagnation. Greg, my husband, can recognize some kids because they look just like their parents did 25 years ago. I've only lived here for 11 years. The boys have been here full time since Keith was in 4th grade and Joe was in 7th grade. Joe graduated 3 years ago - in the "old" gym. Keith was in the band that played. The same teachers were there. The same folding chairs now threaten my older, fatter butt.

I look at them and see people where once I saw children. They are making decisions that I do not always know about in advance and sometimes I don't agree with. But they are not my decisions any more. When did that happen? I'm not really worried about the "empty nest". I'm more worried that I've lost my slave housekeepers. Chores as punishment is a great way to get out of doing the dishes and vacuuming. Oh well, hopefully less mess will be worth it.

They'll visit. Keith will go away to college next January so he'll be home til then. Joe visits when he remembers. He's always been a little absent minded so I have to remind him on occassion. He's staying nearby and will continue college locally.

I've tried to train them right. They know how to do laundry and can cook enough so that they won't starve or live on fast food. They are fairly responsible and mature. So why do I feel like my job shouldn't be done yet? My only answer: They are SO young. They have SO MUCH yet to learn. I know that most of it will come with experience. I just hope I gave them the wherewithall to do a good job.

Good Lord, I feel a little old.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Holistic Health and Healing

This link (click the title of this post) takes you to an interesting online booklet that will give good advise on ways to avoid seeing doctors by keeping yourselves in good condition - a state of WELLNESS. But it also gives good advise on how to prepare yourself to speak to a doctor/nurse and what to do after you get the information you need. Take a few minutes and take control of your health responsibilites. Only you can be responsible for how you feel.

Thought for the day: Aerial spraying of prozac and valium salt licks in the waiting room would be dreams come true for most medical workers.

Monday, May 16, 2005

You Can Lead A Horse To Water.....Right?

But, heavens knows you can't make him drink. Of course you can't drown him either!

Patients can be alot like these horses. You answer their questions, you sympathize with their pains, you talk til you're blue in the face - teaching the unteachable - you give them drugs that will make them feel better......but do they listen? Do they take all the antibiotic til it's all gone - not sharing it or throwing it away? Do they stay in bed and push fluids and take tylenol for the fever? Do they get labs drawn, x-rays taken, precriptions filled? Do they avoid family and co-workers out of concern for their health? NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!

These same patients will then come back to the office, ER or hospital inpatient with the same stupified look of disbelief......."How come I'm still sick? Why did everyone at home get this? Why is everyone I work with ticked off?" They are clueless. But who do they blame? You got it. The doctor, the nurse, the receptionist who couldn't get them in "today" Everyone but the idiot that didn't follow directions.


Monday, May 02, 2005

So Your Med Got Pulled

Were you a Bextra user? Did you depend on Vioxx? What do you do now that your favorite "medical miracle pill" has been pulled off the market by the FDA?

Well, it depends. You could call your doc and try something new or you could go back to the old standbys of acetaminophen or ibuprofen or naproxin (be carefull with this one too). But have you wondered why these meds get pulled after the long, arduous FDA approval process?

Well, it's like this: first someone comes up with an idea at the drug company (or some private researcher gets the idea and sells it to the drug company), then the lab produces a chemical that can be reproduced exactly the same every time (not easy). This can take years. Then they start experimenting with lab rats and other critters gradually getting to larger animals that more closely resemble humans. After years of this process, they apply for human clinial trials.

Now depending on the complexity and severity of the disease they are trying to fix, these trials can last months to years. Many AIDS meds were practically rushed to market to help people as fast as possible. Some of the long term side effects were downplayed as "reasonable risk" as AIDS is usually fatal. Some of the heart meds take literally years of testing on thousands of people before FDA approval can be applied for. And guess what? The FDA is slow.

So meds that make it throught these processes should be safe and side effects/adverse reactions should be well documented.....right? Well, maybe.

Not all meds require extensive human trials. So what happens is that after the drug is on the market, researchers utilize actual patient use/reported adverse reactions to compile additional reports. Now as anyone who does statistics knows, stats can prove almost any point. For some drugs, erring on the side of caution is necessary. For some, it's a little overblown. For example, Statins, the cholesterol reducing drugs can cause significant liver problems and muscle weakness. They are still on the market - until someone (or maybe a few) dies of liver cancer. The cox 2 inhibitors resulted in a few heart attacks (not all fatal) and they are reviled as killers. Do you have any idea how MANY patients were on these meds? Hundreds of thousands. But a few heart attacks in people with other chronic problems. The media of course blew everthing out of proportion (my opinion) and got government officials all excited by getting patients all excited.

Obviously, meds are necessary for many situations - but not all. Be wise, be carefull and THINK about what you are putting in your body. Lifestyle change is preferable to drugs: excercise releases endorphins so you don't need that anti-depressant. Cut out McD's and reduce your cholesterol level. Fresh fruit instead of cheescake (I know, bite my tongue!). Just a hint.

Okay, end of lecture.