Showing posts with label Healthcare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthcare. Show all posts

July 2, 2020

Forgot To Bring Blood

So I go for some blood work today.

Lady pokes my arm, and nothing comes out. 

She moves the point of the needle around and around-- still no blood. 

She says: "Hey, it's your fault!"

I say: 
You're right, no one told me that I was supposed to bring blood with me today. 

She looks up and says, "Okay let's try the other arm!"

Then she spanks the arm...and I blurt out laughing, "hey do that again!"

Then poke, poke, and the blood easily fills a half dozen tubes.

She's said, "You see that worked!"

I said:
I only brought blood in my right arm today!

If I could read her mind: "Ok, get the F*** out of the office."

But she was nice and actually says, "You can get your results in about 3 days."  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2020

Keep The F*** Away From Me

Social distancing is the new norm.

Shaking hands is a no-no!

Even in the park yesterday, they had a sign prominently displayed that read:
Thank you for practicing social distancing. Please stay 6 FT apart.

We might as well all just wear t-shirts or little reminder signs on each of us with:
Keep the F*** away from me!

That about sums it up without putting up a specific distance range. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2020

Lockdown In Coronavirus

This photo is sort of what it feels like to be in lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

You're stuck inside, but still have to keep everything moving anyway!

As we enter the next phase with people itching to go back out and "restart" life and the economy and the second wave where more people unfortunately get sick, we are really as they say:
Stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

And that's where bad things can happen (G-d forbid) and it's never a good place to be. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 27, 2020

The Doctor Is Out!

So one huge downside to this Coronavirus shutdown is that you can barely get any help for other medical conditions or elective surgeries. 

I just heard this morning from a relative about family members that can't get shots they need for pain control or surgeries for breathing problems.

Everything now is COVID-19.

That's the priority (maybe all of the top ten priorities)!

But does it really make sense to completely triage COVID-19 above Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease, Strokes, Alzheimers, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Parkinson's, and more. 

Coronavirus patients are who the hospital and ICU beds are for now. 

And the respirators. 

The testing. 

The new research dollars. 

Perhaps, the global medical community has gone a little Coronavirus crazy, extreme, radical, overboard in their singular focus, panic, and chaos over just one virus to the exclusion of everything else!

Apparently, our totally "overwhelmed" medical system can't "walk and chew gum at the same time."

Certainly, we have a lot to be grateful for to the dedicated and selfless doctors and nurses in the medical community for everything they are doing to help people with Coronavirus under very trying circumstances.

The problem is that in the meantime, people that have new or other chronic conditions are being left out and sometimes to rot. 

Unless of course you are a big fan of telemedicine, which may be good to get something routine looked after, but something major, and I think you're in big trouble. 

After this Coronavirus (assuming there is an after), there is going to be a lot of pent up demand for medical care. 

I think a lot of people are suffering now with conditions that they were waiting to take care of until they were absolutely necessary, but unfortunately when it became necessary, then the care was not there. 

Makes you wonder whether and when you should do or put off medical procedures in the future: just because the care is there "today," doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 24, 2020

The Great COVID-19 Lie

We have been told that the first case of Coronavirus/COVID-19 death in the U.S. was in February 2020. 

First, we were told it was February 29 in Kirkland, Washington. 

Then that is was earlier on February 6 and 17 in California. 

But I and others who I have spoken to believe that the first cases of COVID-19 were with us many months earlier. 

Both I and my wife developed extreme coughing around the September/October timeframe. 

The coughing didn't go away for months!

As is now being reported with COVID-19, it was like it reactivates again and again, 

I went to the MinuteClinic and was prescribed antibiotics. 

The cough lingered and got worse a second time. 

I think I went another time to Minute Clinic or to Urgent Care and got a stronger antibiotic. 

The cough lingered and got worse yet a third time. 

As I become weaker and more sick (with fever at some point(s)), I found myself waking up and barely able to even get out of bed. 

I forced myself back over to Urgent Care again. 

I was given the flu test and it was not the flu. 

And no one seemed to know what it was!

They told me that they were getting so many cases...I believe they said each location was seeing about 100 patients a day!

I was so weak I just laid on the doctors exam table half falling asleep and barely able to move to get up. 

I was given yet an even stronger antibiotic and I believe some steroid medication. 

After about 3-4 horrible months and almost near collapse, it finally started to get better. 

I don't remember ever getting anything like this! 

I hadn't traveled anywhere either. 

Lots of people seem to have had a similar experience. 

Was this COVID-19 or some precursor to it?

I/We may never know the truth. 

But these symptoms and sickness was not normal.

And the high number of cases I was hearing about was beyond anything I can remember. 

As we know everything about this COVID-19 is not normal as we can all attest to after weeks and months of global lockdown. 

The reason that you are hearing all the confusing and contradictory communications and crisis from the "experts" and in the media is because the professionals are confused!

And we are left to wonder: when will we find out the truth about what this is, when it started, what the real dangers to us are now and into the future, and whether there will really ever be a cure for it? ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2020

Free COVID-19 Cure

This sign was just too great. 

Advertisement with the little slips at the bottom to tear off. 
Free Cure for COVID-19.
Please take an information strip below

And what do the strips say:
Stay the F**K at home

I wonder why no one took any of the strips? LOL

Like every meaningful issue, we have people on both sides of the aisle fighting it out what is the right thing to do. 

And when it comes to life and liberty, passions certainly run high. ;-)

(Credit Photo to my son-in-law Itzchak for sharing this with me from his friend in California)
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April 19, 2020

Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy."
What an interesting time this week during the coronavirus for my bar-mitzvah parshas of Tazria and Metzora, where we learn about how to handle someone with the plague of leprosy...What’s fascinating though for our times is that right here in the Torah, long before medical science understood germs, washing of hands, and disinfectants, we have the first instruction on quarantining someone who is sick. The person with leprosy is deemed impure and is put outside the camp in quarantine, repeatedly checked (e.g. tested) by the Kohen, until they are healed, at which time they are purified before being allowed back in. What we don’t see with leprosy is that the whole community is put in a state of quasi quarantine as we are doing now globally with the coronavirus.

In the end, I see this coronavirus blowing up with some people forever anxious and germophobic and others becoming complacent and careless about the whole thing. Either way there will be more sick and dying people, as well as anger at the system that over time repeatedly failed us. This week’s parsha is a good reminder to go back to the ultimate wisdom of the Torah and read again how we handle the leper and manage with a thoughtful risk-based management approach and an eye on the ultimate purity—physically and spiritually—of the individual and the community.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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April 14, 2020

Plan To Restart The Economy WILL Look Something Like This

What will restarting the economy after Coronavirus look like?

Well Israel has a well-thought-out 4 Phase Plan (pending approval) and I would imagine that the U.S. plan will look something very much like this:

- Phase I: Tech and Finance, some Import/Export industries, 50% of Public Sector, and Preschool

- Phase II: Commerce/Retail Stores, Elementary School (ages 6-10)

- Phase III: Cafes, Restaurants, and Hotels, and most of the rest of the Education system

- Phase IV: Leisure and Entertainment: Culture, Sports, Large Shopping Malls, and Flights

There are 4 additional key provisions to this plan:

- 2 Week Buffer between phases to review and evaluate success before moving forward with the next phase. 

- "People over 60 and at-risk populations will not resume normal activity throughout the four phases."

- Resuming these activities occurs with the exercise of continued caution (e.g. social distancing, testing, etc.)

- Expect 2nd outbreak in the Fall and therefore continue to build up healthcare capabilities in preparation for this. 

This sounds like an excellent plan as a basis to reopen and one that we can and should build upon. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and thank you to my sister for sharing this with me)

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April 12, 2020

Reopening The Country WITHOUT Endangering The Masses

I understand the absolute need to reopen the country from this Coronavirus. 

We can't shelter in place forever and watch our economy go into the toilet and our national debt bankrupt us!

Therefore, once we have the mechanisms to control the deadly spread, we must open up offices and stores again gradually to get people working and our economy going again. 

At the same time, I am pissed by those corporate executives that actually have the chutzpah and are pushing for us to open up crowded theaters, stadiums, and other such entertainment or other venues that are NOT critical and pose a greater risk for contagion to masses of people. 

Instead of these CEOs understanding the need to hold off on this pending a vaccination or adequate disease control measures, these greedy corporate chieftain seem to care little to nothing about the health of their customers, and only about lining their fat pocketbooks with more ticket sales. 

I think it's criminal type behavior to push our government to open prematurely and irresponsibly those venues that are of greatest risk to potentially millions of people to get sick or dead in order for them to profit from it!  ;-)

Note: It's reported that COVID-19 compared to the flu in 22 fewer days infected 11x as many people and killed 60 times as many

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2020

Now This Is Scary On Coronavirus

Latest Coronavirus news reported by Reuters from South Korea...

Virus appears to be "reactivated" after person is already cleared of it.

91 patients so far!

Is this the result of faulty testing or is this not your typical virus???

Folks, it does not look like we are in clear by a long shot on this yet. 

Be careful and stay safe!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and thank you to my sister with a PhD in biomedical science for sharing this with me)
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March 30, 2020

Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would've thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 

But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 

As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face's half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms--who knows!

What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 

Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 

Even as the Navy's hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.

Where does this sickness stop?   

What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?

How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?

Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?

How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?

Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments...thank G-d we aren't there. 

But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that "there" isn't really all that far away from "here."

...That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 

And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d's help and mercy.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)
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March 23, 2020

3 Months of Social Distancing

Here is a link to the modeling for Covid-19:
https://covidactnow.org/

You can click any state to see the impact of 3 months of social distancing or 3-months of Shelter in Place.

Basically, it looks like this first round of coronavirus will last until around the beginning of June. 

The hope is that we can keep the hospitals and medical system from being overwhelmed while we try to come up and test an effective vaccine. 

Of course, vaccines are helpful, but look how many still get the flu every year because viruses mutate and the vaccine misses the mark.

Also, there is a risk that the virus comes back even more virulent again, so we all need to continue to pray! ;-)

(Thank you to my sister for sharing this with me.)
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March 22, 2020

We Just Magically Found $2,000,000,000,000

It's amazing how we can magically find $2 trillion for a Coronavirus "Rescue Plan."

This after we already wasted over $6.4 trillion (and thousands of our dead and wounded) through 2017 in unexplainable and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no known or lasting benefits to this country (while archenemy, Iran continues their pursuit of nukes unabated). 

And for decades, we haven't been able to find money for:

- Decent healthcare for all Americans.

- Ensuring our national security, including adequate planning and disaster preparedness for things like Coronavirus, cybersecurity, WMDs, EMPs, and for critical infrastructure protection. 

- Repairing our aging roads, bridges, and infrastructure

- Fixing our broken public education system.

- Helping our countless of homeless and needy lying the streets of our nation. 

- Restoring our space program to get a man on the moon again or put another shuttle into space. 

When politics are in play, there is plenty of money to go around. 

But when the nation needs proper care and feeding, there are no adults in the room. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 20, 2020

Great Explanation of Coronavirus (Covid-19)


Great explanation of Coronavirus (Covid-19) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Need a Part II though to explain what people should do when they get sick--communication on this part has been awful. 

BTW, the governor of California stated that he estimates that 56% of their population or 25.5 million people would be infected there within eight weeks. 

At a 1-2% fatality rate (lower than the current global 4% fatality rate) that would mean between 250,000 and 500,000 dead just in California.  

This is very serious stuff folks. ;-)

(Credit to my daughter, Rebecca for sharing this with video)
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March 13, 2020

Stop The Coronavirus, Please!

It's been a few exhausting weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has gone public. 

First case in China in November.

Now as a Pandemic in 126 countries!

Over 132,000 confirmed cases, so far .

And around 5,000 deaths 🕱.

The numbers are projected to climb/////.

With Dr. Faucci of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warning that it will "get worse before it gets better."

Everything is closing down from our work facilities to Cruises, Broadway, and Disney.

Of course, we need the government (at all levels), health professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to get their acts together with an effective response strategy. 

Also, this is a wake up call for better preparedness for all sorts of natural and man made disasters that are awaiting. 

Today it's a virus (natural or biowarfare) and tomorrow it'll be a devastating cyber attack that we are woefully unprepared for. 

No more playing politics, half measures, and waiting for the next shoe to drop (Spanish Flu, Pearl Harbor, 9/11).

The rest of us need to do our "prepping" parts and to say a prayer or two and keep going. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2020

Scary Model of Cancer

Saw this at a doctors office in one of the patient rooms. 

At first I wasn't even sure what it was. 

Looks like a stomach.

What are those globs?

Oy, they represent malignant tumors (from what I understood reading the fine print). 

Really makes it hit home when you see it in front of you on display like that. 

So much suffering from illnesses like cancer.

G-d should have mercy. 

We really need to find "the cure!"  

Imagine what a day that will be.  ;-)
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May 9, 2019

@National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence



So good today to visit the NIST Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).

The cybersecurity solutions developed are aligned to the well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). 

Got to see some of the laboratories, including demonstrations for securing the Healthcare and Energy Sectors. 

Interesting to hear about examples for securing hospitals records and even things like infusion pumps.  

The medical devices are tricky to secure, because they are built to potentially last decades and are expensive to replace, but the underlying technology changes every couple of years. 

Also, learned more about securing the energy sector and their industrial control systems.  

One scary notable item mentioned was about the "big red button" for shutdown in many of these facilities, but apparently there is malware that can even interfere in this critical function. 

It is imperative that as a nation we focus on critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and continuously enhancing our security.

Time is of the essence as our adversaries improve their game, we need to be urgently upping ours. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 6, 2019

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 

This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 

The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 

As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 

While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 

When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor--and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold--shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  

Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population--we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 

Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2018

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 

I hate going to the hospital--who doesn't?

But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 

I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 

This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 

Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:
This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  

Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we'll saw your leg off!

I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor--I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.

He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn't want to get caught under their knife. 

So that's certainly some apprehension going in to this. 

The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 

But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn't have any, so the lady asks for "proof of homelessness."

I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.

They wouldn't do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  

I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 

While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don't get that need it, and pray that we as a "caring society" will do better. 

Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 11, 2017

Amazon + Teva = A Marriage Made In Heaven


Amazon has upended so many industries--and you can basically buy almost anything there.

And yes, what you can't buy today, you will be able to buy tomorrow. 

What started as books and DVDs is now virtually synonymous with e-Commerce itself!
Next up for Amazon is pharmaceuticals!

Some people may think that Whole Foods gives Amazon the footprint it needs to sell these and dominate.

But what people aren't considering is that Amazon can sell the pharmaceuticals online.

Amazon can do what other online drug distributors can't.

Why?

Because Amazon has the most unbelievable distribution network in the world. 

Currently, people can order drugs through the mail, but these tend to be for regular reoccurring prescriptions that have lead time. 

However, Amazon can outdo these mail order pharma companies, because they can get you the drugs you need when and where you need it. 

- You don't feel well and can't make it to CVS, Amazon will deliver to your door. 

- Need same-day delivery, no problem. 

- Plus do all your shopping together in one fell timesaving swoop. 

My prediction: 
Amazon the low cost, efficient online seller of everything to everywhere is going to partner with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the #1 world leader in low cost generic drugs.

Teva already produces 120 billion tablets and capsules every year, operates in 80 countries, and currently fills 1 in 6 generic prescriptions in the U.S. 
Together, Amazon and Teva can make beautiful music, that is medicine + money!

Who needs CVS when pharmaceuticals perhaps soon can be gotten at Whole Foods or at your Trusty Amazon.com.  

One more time, I see some radical disruption--and this time it will bring you cheaper and more convenient drugs--make a l'chaim to your health. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

(Endnote: I am a big fan + investor in Teva, and of course, all opinions here are my own.)
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