My husband’s beloved older brother passed away on Christmas morning.
Many people might think a death on Christmas Day would taint the holiday, bringing up an unpleasant and unwelcome memory year after year.
But we believe future Christmases will actually be more special and meaningful, and we can feel this way because my brother-in-law not only lived a purposeful and rewarding life, but he died a good death.
What is a good death? In my mind, it’s about being at home, as comfortable as possible, and surrounded by friends and family. In my last moments I want to see what … Continue reading
Would you know what to do?
I wasn’t planning on writing about this topic today, but disasters don’t work around my editorial calendar.
I live in Seattle, and early yesterday (Monday) morning, a Seattle-to-Portland commuter train derailed while speeding across Interstate 5. Several of the train cars actually fell off the overpass, hitting cars on the freeway below.
Last I heard, at least 6 people were dead, and over 70 injured.
During the chaos that followed the accident, several train passengers and car drivers immediately stepped up to help others.
I’m always impressed when ordinary people—not trained emergency professionals—are able … Continue reading
An eternal battle
I have always been fascinated by the history of medicine and disease. I minored in medical history in college and have probably read dozens of books on the subject.
If you’re interested but don’t have that kind of time to invest, I just ran across a couple of short (very short!) videos on YouTube that I found to be remarkably good overviews of a complex topic.
The first is from Crash Course World History:
If only my history teachers in high school had been so entertaining!
I especially loved his statement: “You … Continue reading
I just found this great game, Guts and Bolts, while I was surfing around on the internet last weekend!
It’s not new, just new to me 🙂
It’s a creation of BrainPOP, which features all kinds of cool educational games and tools.
The game is kind of a Dr. Frankenstein meets Joe the Plumber as you are introduced to different body parts and organs and learn how they are connected and work together.
As you level up, there are game quizzes that test your knowledge of what you’ve learned. I took these thinking they would be a piece … Continue reading
OK, this post is just for fun.
Last year I mocked the new catalog of diagnosis codes, the ICD 10. Every medical bill must include a diagnostic code, and I thought the ICD 10, which increased the number of available codes from 13,000 to 70,000, was really over-the-top ridiculous.
New diagnoses included such notables as “injured when knitting,” “sucked into a jet engine” and “problems with the in-laws.”
But my niece, who just graduated from medical school and is now a first-year resident, toured one of the first hospitals built in Washington state and shared with me a list … Continue reading
I’ve always believed that if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness and had a choice between a few months of quality living and a few extra months filled with doctors’ visits, surgeries, lab tests and drug treatments, I would choose quality of life.
Many friends, some of them doctors, have told me, “Oh, you think that now, but when the times comes the will to live is just too strong. You’ll do anything for that extra time.”
Would I? I guess I won’t know for sure until my time comes.
That’s exactly what a hospice physician thought—Will I … Continue reading
I was watching Game 5 of the World Series this weekend (go Royals!) and I couldn’t help but notice all the ads for prescription meds—Belsomra, Cialis, Lyrica, Cymbalta and Symbicort to name but a few.
Direct-to-consumer advertising has been legal since 1997. There is no doubt in my mind it has contributed to the over-prescribing of medications in this country, as well as our skyrocketing health care costs.
Anyway, watching all those commercials made me want to repost this hilarious video from Consumers Union: The Drugs I Need.
Did you check out the fine print … Continue reading
I was watching with much amusement and satisfaction last week as the hostesses of TV’s The View took a much-deserved bashing for their uninformed and frankly bitchy remarks directed at Kelley Johnson, a nurse and a contestant (Miss Colorado) in the Miss America pageant.
With apparently nothing better to talk about, the
mean girls ladies of The View picked apart Ms. Johnson’s heartfelt and at times tearful monologue on the nursing profession, calling it “hilarious” and implying she was pretending to be a physician by wearing a stethoscope around her neck.
No, she wasn’t. Nurses use stethoscopes, too.
I was … Continue reading
I just read that the brilliant physician-writer Oliver Sacks died yesterday from a rare form of eye cancer. Although he had been diagnosed with the disease several years ago, he learned earlier this year that the cancer, a form of melanoma, had spread aggressively into his liver.
At that time, he wrote a moving Op-Ed for the New York Times, and I bookmarked it because his words reflecting on his terminal diagnosis really resonated with me.
It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in
… Continue reading
I wrote a post last week about Addyi, the new libido-enhancing drug recently approved by the FDA. It’s being called the “female Viagra” even though it is nothing like Viagra, and both its safety and efficacy are being questioned.
But there’s been a lot of press in the last few weeks on both Addyi and the problem of low sex drive in women. I think The Onion gets my vote for the funniest: FDA Approves Female-Libido-Enhancing Man.
In an effort to address the needs of women suffering from a lack of sexual desire, the FDA announced Tuesday that it
… Continue reading