Did you loose weight?

Over the last few months or so I have received compliments from both family members and patients alike that I looked like I was loosing weight. From my last weigh in at my yearly physical I had lost over 30 lbs. At this point in the game I am confident that I have lost more as I have moved into a smaller pants size as well.

In an effort to get my weight under control a couple years ago I decided to cut my sugary drink intake. I essentially cut my soda consumption down to 1 can a week and limited other sugary drink consumption as well. This helped mitigate the problem, but was only a small step in the right direction.

Once I moved in with my wife (fiancée at the time) I was able to finally better modify my diet. With a combination of fried food reduction, portion control, and increased exercise I was able to finally start dialing back some of the pounds.

What really got the needle moving was when my wife found out that she would have to deal with gestational diabetes while pregnant with our first child. The conditioned was controlled with medication, but also with diet modification. I decided that I would embrace as much of her diet change as I was able to “stomach”. Since the lions share of it was carb control this helped get the pounds dropping off as well.

The drop in weight has benefited me greatly. The self confidence booster alone is enough to make getting out of bed easier in the morning. From a health stand point I have benefited on several points, but most positively stress reduction on my knees and back since they have both been damaged/repaired as a result of past injuries/abuse.

If you have stopped reading already your probably wondering why I posted all of this. Some of this is to toot my own horn. When your running on a confidence high keep the ball rolling. I also am posting it to maybe inspire/motivate others as well.

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Last Man Standing

Since Christmas Eve one family member after another has taken ill for at least 24 hours or more. This includes my work family. One by one I have watched some ailment put them out of commission for an extended period of time. Everyone that is except me.

I am an island on to my own. When some sickness makes the rounds I can normally weather the storm and at worse only have to deal with some of the minor annoying symptoms associated with whatever the affliction is. I’ll have to attribute this to my robust immune system.

Through the pharmacy I have the “pleasure”  of interacting with hundreds of patients in a week and as a result of that their illnesses as well. I’m also exposed to many a students through my teaching endeavors and the illnesses they bring with them to the classroom. I would say my immune system is always working over time combating and adapting to the various illnesses that are hurled my way.

I also never bought into the constant use of hand sanitizer. If memory serves me the CDC and other federal health agencies put out studies saying that people were over doing it. To put a fine point on this I make sure I’m clean and sterile when I need to be, but the rest of the humans on the continent I share with need to calm down with the scrubs and the lotions. Your body does need a certain level or bacteria on it and in it anyway.

It’s like I tell my coworkers and cohorts all the time. Just lick the counter/keyboard and get it over with. The illness is going to claim you anyway just get it over with now. Unless your me and the New York City sewer rats.

Epinephrine Pens

For those of you Facebook hero’s that have discovered how cheap epinephrine is by the ampule is now touting that everyone should be asking their doctor for a script of that and for a syringe please stop. I applaud your good intentions, but it truly isn’t a viable option. Pull up a seat and I will explain.

Yes, it is a cheaper….a lot cheaper. However, there is a trade off here and it’s time….that when it comes to the need to use epinephrine to counter act an anaphylaxis reaction there is precious little of. You see when opening an ampule of anything you first need to sterilize the top with an alcohol swab and then essentially crack the top off. (Each ampule does have an etched line around the neck to help with breaking it off) Even in an ideal setting you don’t always get a clean snap. (Since were talking about an emergency situation use you can most likely throw any semblance of a clean break out the window.)

Now that the vial is open remember to sterilize the top again. You must also make sure that before drawing any of the solution out of the ampule that you are using a filter tip needle on the syringe. Don’t want to draw up any glass shards. You may keep the person from suffocating, but failing to use the filter tip may result in micro pieces of glass being injected into a person. This could result in internal micro cuts throughout the body causing internal bleeding and/or high susceptibility to infection.

Let’s assume that you have done everything correctly to this point. (Did you draw up the correct amount of liquid?) Now you need to switch needle tips. (The filter tip doesn’t trap the glass, it just keeps it from contaminating the epinephrine in the syringe.) With the tip now changed you are ready to administer.

My point here is that again although this is a cheaper alternative it is not a viable alternative. It is a time consuming process in order to ensure the safety of the person receiving the medication. Which is why the brand name Epipen comes in the preset pens. Unless beyond the shadow of a doubt you know you can safely transport and maintain the integrity of the ampules, syringe, and needle tips don’t. You also have to ask yourself are you the kind of person that can maintain their cool to help administer the correct needed dose to save someone.

I’m sorry, but it is a much better idea to pony up the money from the pens than it is to try and quickly get through that process. Since I’m already on my soap box and I have everyone’s attention let me enlighten you to something that the manufacturer of Epipen doesn’t want you to know. THERE IS A GENERIC ON THE MARKET.

That’s right boys and girls there is a generic to Epipen on the market. It is significantly cheaper. (By a couple of hundred dollars.) The problem is that there aren’t enough studies out to prove that it’s an “AB” rated generic. To translate there isn’t enough data that allows for pharmacies to just change it to the generic that exists. When getting a prescription from your doctor for an epinephrine pen ask them to write it for just that. Saves time and money.

That way you don’t have to wait for congress to legislate something and you could start hitting the manufacturer in the bank account. Instead just lean on your legislature to start making inquiries into why the FDA is dragging their feet on getting the “AB” rating studies done.

 

 

 

 

What’s the Number for 911?

The advent of 911 for calling emergency services has to be one of the best tools created for the general public. Significantly more efficient than having to remember a 10 digit number in order to call for help and that’s assuming you have the ability and/or time to dial all ten digits.

I am writing about 911 because in the past year or so a private ambulance company charted by the local hospital chain has started advertising pretty heavily in our area. Which is fine by me, but the problem lies in the fact that part of their advertisement encourages people to not call 911 but to call their number instead. There is a litany of problems with this, but I’ll try and curtail it to a couple of key ones.

911 operations centers have multiple operators available around the clock even on holidays and if the local 911 center is overwhelmed for some reason the neighboring one can normally pick up some of the overload. As for the private ambulance company I don’t know if it’s just going to one person or multiple people. It is also unknown as to what their “call centers” hours/days of operation are.

911 also has a priority system built based on geographic location and time of day and day of week. (Not all towns have round the clock paid duty crews in my area.) This is so that if the 1st due for an area is out of service because they are already responding to a call, unable to fully crew their ambulance, or might be having their rescue vehicle serviced the next best option can be sent to the call for help.

Now I’m sure the ambulance company has some sort of priority system in place where they do know who is or isn’t responding to a request for services and which vehicles are crewed and operational and which aren’t, but what happens if a call comes in and there aren’t any available units. Is the person told they’ll have to wait? I know they aren’t going to be calling a competitor and asking for backup and I also doubt they’ll be calling 911 for said person either.

Please understand that I am not involved in FIRE/EMS services in any way, but I also know how to use common sense. I have talked with friends that are part of ambulance companies and have done some of my own personal research. I know the private ambulance company is trying to drum up business, but they are going about it the wrong way. There is an established and mostly efficient system in place in which people can call and get emergency help. Although I can appreciate competition, creating a separate entity along side 911 is not the way to break into the market.

There are lots of private ambulance and fire companies for that offered their services to other 911 response centers and started as backups in the priority chains and moved their up to first call. That makes sense to. Again, I get it, they are a business and trying to survive, but you don’t get to use a business tactic that could cost someone their life.

Medical Tourism

So while watching the new season of Morgan Spurlocks Inside Man the one episode was about medical tourism. I know that it has existed for quit some time now, but didn’t know much about it. Without getting into the fine points of it I will try and sum everything up.

In term of cost and efficiency these hospitals and medical centers abroad beat the current US medical system by leaps and bounds. Now I’m sure that the best was rolled out and portrayed for the sake of the show, so I did some of my own research because my curiosity was peaked after the first 5 minutes.

Indeed, just based on the cost analysis between what I could expect to shell out for my out of pocket expense with insurance (here) v. without (abroad) there is what I would term a catastrophic difference. So with that in mind I have two final thoughts. First out healthcare system is in need of an overhaul. Second if somewhere down the line I require some major treatment I will consider going abroad for healthcare. Get myself taken care of at better price and have a vacation as well.

Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body

In light of my recent injury I decided to pull this one out of my personal archives.

Pain is what you are experiencing when you are doing something to your body that you shouldn’t be, asking your body to perform beyond its limits, or you have experienced a trauma of some kind. Pain is the not so gentle reminder that you are still alive and should keep breathing…..still breathing.

If you are like me I experience some form of pain daily because of a past injury I have experienced. The daily discomfort I have is nothing compared to when the injury I experienced finally caused me enough pain that I couldn’t get off the floor. (Just to clarify, many moons ago I fell down a flight of stairs. It just took a while for the injury to get to the afore mentioned point.)

Hospitals have adopted the 1 through 10 pain scale along with the different smiley faces to help identify the level of pain/discomfort a person might be experiencing. Keeping the pain scale in mind my injury started with a level of 4. I then continued to walk around with said pain for an additional six months.

Compared to most people I have an exceptionally high tolerance for pain in general having had my hands burned at a younger age, a nail shot through my foot, and various other accidents/injuries. However, my body had had enough and decided that it would not tolerate me not doing anything about my injury anymore and I couldn’t get up. To be specific I could get to the standing position, but asking my body to do anything more than that was out of the question. So at that point my pain was a 9.

I have been asked why only 9? Why not 10? Well, I was still able to communicate that I was in pain. It is my belief that if I am truly at a level 10 in pain I will not be able to express that. I will either be writhing in pain and unable to speak or will have passed out from the intensity level of the pain. If you have seen the move “A Fault In Our Stars” the main female actor expresses that point quit well.

My ultimate point here again is the same as before. Don’t be an idiot. If you injure yourself seek medical help sooner rather than later or at least stop the activity you are doing. My most recent injury I was lucky and it was only muscle strain. The above injury was probably mild at the time but since I ignored it for so long it became much worse and required surgery.

Placed On The Injured Roster

Sunday morning I woke up with a slight ache in my left shoulder. As per my usual I just chalked it up to my usual list of daily aches and pains. As the day progressed I would learn this to be incorrect.

This same day I would be participating in an airsoft event at the local indoor arena. If you haven’t guessed this is where I would also injure myself.  Normally I wouldn’t give running around with an extra 35 or so pounds of gear a second thought, but since sometimes I will need to move in quick and not always all that graceful ways I eventually aggravated my issue. Normally this is where one would stop before making the injury worse.

Well you can also guess that I didn’t do that either. Yes, I am aware the I preach the use of common sense, but since I come equipped with a standard issue male ego and I didn’t want to let my team down I pressed on. As a result of  my inability to use reason I injured myself enough that I had to take a sick day. Can’t even begin  to describe how annoyed I am with that.

Long story short people. Don’t be stupid. If you hurt yourself bench yourself early on. I could have done a lot more damage than I did and taken myself out for more than the day I already have.