Showing posts with label Medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicine. Show all posts

August 20, 2019

Shopping Vs Psychiatrist

This sign had a pretty good point:
"Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Plus it's more fun and you get to take the junk home that you buy.

For many, shopping truly is a form of mental/stress relief--almost like medicine. 

Unfortunately, if you think about it, things don't really make a person happy...rather people do and doing good does. 

But industry wants you to think a lot more superficially and materialistically than that. 

Hence the notion that if you take your daily dose of shopping, maybe you can skip the shrink! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2019

Amazing - They Go In And See

Had my routine colonoscopy this morning. 

It is so amazing that they can go in with camera and everything. 

Look around and if necessary, cut out anything bad. 

Years ago, people just felt sick or pain and maybe saw some symptoms from outside.

But they had no idea what was happening inside. 

So grateful to G-d for the technology and doctors that can make sure all is okay. 

We are truly living in miraculous times. 

They even send you home with some pictures afterward.

It's interesting to see, but maybe a little TMI. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 18, 2019

Beautiful Architecture, Washington DC

Check out this beautiful exterior architecture.  

This fine exquisite pattern is all around this building by Metro Center. 

I think this must've been restored over the last few years, because I don't remember it being this colorful and awesome in the past. 

Civilization can still create some amazing works...whether technology, medical cures, and even beautiful pieces of artwork. 

Now we just need to proceed with the positives of creativity and productivity without destroying ourselves with indifference, dysfunction, and mismanagement in the process. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2019

Rockville Science Fair - 30th Year!















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 11, 2019

Icing That Migraine

So a lot of people I know get excruciating migraines in the Washington, D.C. area. 

I don't know the statistical incident rate here for migraines, but anecdotally it seems significantly higher.

Is it the weather patterns, pollution, toxic chemicals or something else in this geographic area?

While medicine seems to be critical in actually getting rid of the migraine, I do notice that sustained use of ice packs or freezing water on the head also seems to help. 

Cold generally constricts the blood vessels, so I am not sure why this provides migraine relief.

Note: I am not giving medical advise or guidance to anyone, but just sharing my experiences. 

I would be interested to see a medical study done on treating migraines with freezing cold--from my experience, I think it definitely helps.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 23, 2019

Fire Alarm, Now What?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Shabbat Menucha." 
Friday night–the start of the Shabbat–oh, thank G-d we made it (and TGIF). Usually such a wonderful time to catch up on some extra sleep from the whole week of work. But last night it’s different…the fire alarm suddenly comes alive and the voice over the loud speaker tells everyone to exit the building immediately. It is 1:00 AM in the morning.

Carrying a head cold, medicated, and sleepless, this is what happened to me.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2019

Cockroach Tea



So I went into this store in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and was looking around. 

I saw this chest of draws with all sorts of herbs and insects listed. 

One draw included a label for "Cockroach".

I asked innocently:
Do you have cockroaches in there?

The lady behind the counter responds in broken English:
Oh yes, there are roaches in there. 

Again, not understanding the relationship to the herbs for sale, I inquire:
What are the roaches used for?

The lady looks at me a little more intently and says:
It is for tea--cockroach tea!

My eyes literally bugged out and I go for a third round:
Do people drink that for health reasons?

She responds:
Yes, and it is good for managing pain. 

Hesitatingly, I asked her to take out the bag and open it so I could see for myself. 

I don't know about you, but growing up in NYC, we definitely didn't value cockroaches as part of our diet--in fact, we did everything we could to try and rid ourselves of these disgusting insects--but usually to no avail. 

The roaches survived everything we could throw at them!

If they are so resilient, maybe they can provide some health benefits to people (who knows--you've got to respect ancient alternative medicines), but I will only say this, you won't get me anywhere near this roach tea--and not for all the tea in China!  ;-)

(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 2, 2018

The Heart of The Matter

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Heartfelt Challenges."  

It's about some of my reflection on having a heart condition. 
Over time, what I’ve learned is that what is really important in life is not money, honor, power, or pleasure, but the simple things of family, community, faith, caring, giving, and generally trying your best in all circumstances. Every day is a chance to keep learning. 

Praying and hoping that please G-d everything goes well with the upcoming procedure. 

(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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June 30, 2017

It's Like Saving The Whole World

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

"He who saves one life...It is as if he saves a whole world."

For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!

Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves...their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!

Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have--what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 

Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 

My thoughts and prayers are with him. 

This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it's time for the doctors--with G-d's help--to save his life.

I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn't there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in "exploratory" to find out what the heck was going on.

And thank G-d that they did--they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn't be writing to you all today. 

I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.

I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2017

Rhymes With Venus

So these were some funny stories recently...

First, I came across an information system with a comical name. 

Let just say that it rhymes with venus and starts with the letter P. 

Well not exactly that word, but it very, very close. 

When I heard it, I could not help but say, "That's an unfortunate [system] name."

That's the thing about names and acronyms...you really have to think about what they stand for and what they sound like or you can get yourself into some pretty ridiculous situations and problems. 

Second story is when I was talking to this lady and I asked how she was feeling after going through some surgery and then having various complications from it. 

She told me the pain and problems she was having, and the tests and doctors she is continuing to have to see ,and that physical therapy didn't help much. 

I'm nodding and empathizing and then after this went on for a while, all I could say in dismay for all what she had been through was "Ay, yai, yai." 

Then she asked me about how I was doing after my hip surgeries and I told her how grateful I was for the modern medical procedures and G-d's blessing that enabled me to walk again. 

But what was really funny is that she then starts going, "Ay, yai, yai."

And as the conversation wore down, we were both looking at each other and practically saying in harmony, "Ay, yai, yai."

Anyway...sometimes there's nothing left to say but just that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2017

Thank You Chaplain Berning

I read about this amazing "Spiritual Communications Board" that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 

The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can't talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 

The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 

The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 

And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help... from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 

While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d's help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 

To heal, people don't just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 

The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)
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January 27, 2017

A Little Wear and Tear

Despite a generally longer life expectancy...people still have lots of aches and pains already by midlife. 

Danielle Ofri in the New York Times points out:
"Our bodies evolved to live about 40 years and then be finished off by a mammoth or a microbe. [However,] thanks to a century of staggering medical progress, now now live past 80, but evolution hasn't caught up; the cartilage in our joints still wears down in our 40s and we are more obese and more sedentary that we used to be, which doesn't help."
I hear from so many people in their 40s that they are already getting knee and hip replacements; they have high blood pressure, diabetes, and are having heart attacks, and many even are seeing their first bouts of cancer.

So in many ways, the 40s really sucks!  

Many of us would be dead many times over already, if not for G-d's grace and the miracles of medical science and technology these days. 

So life is prolonged, and we even often get pain relief, while we are able to continue forward with our families, communities, and careers.

As we read in Psalms 39:4
"Show me, LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is."
Perhaps that's what illness is...G-d showing us that we are just mortal and that life is short and we need to make the most of every minute. 

When everything is going just swell, how easy it is to become arrogant and forget how mortal we really are. 

My father used to say:
"G-d doesn't let any tree grow into the heavens."
By our 40s, when most of us are growing our families, careers, wealth, and stature--unfortunately, maybe we sort of need that kick in the pants from Above. 

G-d is our maker and our teacher, and he guides us to the end of our days, and hopefully they are reached with wisdom, meaningful contributions, piety, and love. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2016

Pro Life OR Pro Choice

I took this photo going to the doctor last week.

This guy is standing outside the office building and he goes, "Did you know that there is an abortion clinic in there?"

Sort of stating the obvious as a guy, I said, "Well I'm not going there!"

It was fascinating though watching this guy picketing with his sign, "Pray To End Abortion."

And he's standing in front of some spiffy signs advertising Fendi and Gucci. 

Perhaps, he's not understanding where some people come from and what they go through getting pregnant either not by choice (rape, incest, etc.) or they are not ready to properly care for a child or there is a clear and present danger to the health of the mother. 

While late term abortions are completely anathema and in my mind really are murder, perhaps early term abortions, even if not a desired outcome by any means are at times a type of life-saving necessity for the reasons mentioned. 

Unfortunately, I really don't think it's a simple either/or.  

Yes, we must be pro life and protect the unborn children.

AND

Yes, we must have some element of pro choice and protect the mother and the child when it's birth would bring more harm than good. 

The decision needs to be made case-by-case and are excruciating to decide and do the right thing for all. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 29, 2016

Better Than A Cadaver

So I'm at the doctor's office for a checkup.

The doctor tells me to lie down on the exam table. 

There is also a 3rd year medical student in the room as part of her training. 

The exam starts and there are all these devices for checking things out. 

It's feeling a little tense. 

I jokingly say, "I feel like a cadaver lying here (being studied)."

Then the medical student says, "Oh you smell much better than a cadaver! I just took that class."

Oh, how comforting is that--smelling better than a stinkin' dead person whose been embalmed!

At which point, there is some ridiculous talk about dead people and formaldehyde, body odor, and decay.

This was quite a lively visit, but I hope it was helpful to me and to medical science. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 13, 2016

A Last Act Of Giving

So after the Rabbi's speech today on the Halachic Organ Donor Society, I joined up to be a donor. 

I had always believed this was the right thing to do, but knowing that there is a kosher way to do it, sealed the cause for me. 

There are more than 123,000 Americans that need lifesaving organ transplants and every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, so if I don't need mine any more, I'd like to help someone that does. 

While ideally, I would like to return my body to  G-d in pristine condition the same way that I received it, I realize that life wears away at us and moreover, sometimes tragedy (G-d forbid) strikes. 

Of course, I hope and pray for a long and healthy life, but if we are in a position to help, how can we not be there for those who need us in one last giving moment. ;-)

(Source Photo of Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2015

Honesty, A Great Policy

So I went to the Podiatrist today for some routine maintenance. 

This was a new doctor for me, and I was going in with a healthy dose of skepticism (until I know the person is good and trustworthy). 

Well after the doctor does all these things, I test the waters and ask him, "So how often should I come back to see you every 6 months or more often or what?"

Here's his opportunity to put money ahead of really caring about the patient and to say to come often and more frequently so they can make more patient visits and more money.

But instead he pleasantly surprised me and goes, "Well let's see how your doing and take it from there."

I loved it--some genuine honesty and not just business and a money-making racket. 

Now, I really do plan to go back to this doctor regularly, because I trust him. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 2, 2015

Insomnia Hurts Like Hell

Insomnia is a horrible ailment that many people suffer with and they do this in the dark and in silence. 

Because when the rest of the world is sleeping, you are lying in bed like a log awake--and not sure how you going to get to sleep or stay awake the next day.

What follows are sleepless nights, sometimes groggy days, and anxiety about even going to bed at night. 

How do I know this?

I've been battling insomnia since my hip's deteriorated painfully, and I had a number of hip replacement surgeries, and a lengthy recovery process, including lots of swimming. 

Despite melatonin, warm baths, and even some sleeping meds, my nights were filled with plenty of staring at the ceiling alternating with tossing and turning in bed. 

I was almost at the point of giving up hope on being able to sleep normally again, and then something occurred to me. 

Stop the meds and just pray!

Over a few days I weaned off the sleep meds, and was feeling really crappy and headachy. 

But the real difference was when I got into bed, I remembered and recited the prayers of my youth from before bedtime. 

And I added for G-d to please help me sleep normally again.

The very first night...I slept perfectly!

Now, it's been three nights in a row--in Judaism, we call that a chazakah (something that is established). 

I am so grateful to G-d for returning me to restful sleep-filled nights--thank you Hashem!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2015

Pain Pain Go Away!

So I am more the emotional type who cries at sad songs or heroic endeavors. 

But with the hip surgery, I have to admit that I have had some moments of literally screaming pain. 

The surgeon said he did about a full half hour of cauterization to prevent another bleed (hematoma) and infection that happened last time...so not sure if this is causing the extra-extra sting. 

Usually when they ask my level of pain, I say like 2-3, because I imagine a 10 being some horrible torture like being sawed in half (while hung upside down--actually saw this in a movie) or flayed of your flesh, burnt alive at the stake, or quartered by horses--or countless variations on these.

Let's just say, the medieval tormentors had this torture stuff down.

In a way, I almost feel guilty expressing my post surgical pain (sort of child's play) relative to these made-to-order cruelties.

Of course for pain, the doctors give you medicine, but honestly I don't like to take these because of side-effects and even addictive properties. 

But the nurse and physical therapist told me not to let the pain get ahead of me, because then it is harder to control it (and also harder to do the full PT and get the benefits from it).

In the hospital, I was amazed that some people had so much pain (i.e. me) and others just sat there in PT seemingly shrugging off the whole experience. 

Still I made it the full loop with the walker the first day (which the therapists told me is maybe 3x what most others do at that point).

Another thing that I am thinking about with pain, is how do you compare emotional and physical pain--which is worse?

The loss of loved ones, deep disappointments, suffering with sickness or disability, anxiety and depression can certainly cause a lot of pain inside--those are the screams that often no one hears.

Also, that hurt can often lead to physical sickness and bodily pain and vice versa--so they are not mutually exclusive.

My father used to tell me that "When you have your health you have everything."

I think this is partly because if you don't have your health, you can't really do or enjoy much else anyway--so good health is sort of a precursor to all other activities and pursuits.

Probably the worst pains are the ones where their is simply no hope of getting better...and you just have to accept the loss or the end. 

The corollary that my father taught me was "Where there is life, there is hope!"

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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