Saturday, December 28, 2013

An added "O"

A relatively new administrative staff member wanted to relay a message.

"Mrs. J just called and said her husband had a colonic seizure earlier today. He has a past history of colonic seizures but hadn't had one for awhile. She wanted to know if he needed to be seen."

I hope she didn't see me smile because she did a good job of relaying the message.

I was curious, however, if she changed clonic to colonic or if Mrs. J reported a colonic seizure instead of a clonic seizure.

I didn't ask but may re-visit it in the future when she's more settled into working here and gets more comfortable with my, at times, warped sense of humor.

He paid it forward

Mr. W adopted a boy who was 2 years old and significantly disabled due to cerebral palsy. His son is now 30 and working full time as an executive chef after graduating from high school, college and culinary school.

Mr. W adopted a girl who was abandoned at age 3 by her drug abusing parents. His daughter is now 35 and has a family of her own.

Mr. W is now 87 and totally dependent, for the last 5 years, due to an unfortunate series of events.

His son and daughter go to great length to help Mrs. W care for Mr. W.

Both have nothing but wonderful things to say about their father and how he went to such great lengths to provide for them despite their less than optimal start.

They let me know they will go to great lengths to help provide for their father in his time of need and to make this stage of his life as wonderful as possible.

Mr. W doesn't say much these days but I'm sure I saw him smile when he overheard this discussion.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Electromagnetic Joe

When asked if he's still preparing his own meals, 91 year-old Joe C. reports that his nickname for many decades has been "microwave Joe."

His daughter either makes meals for him that he can re-heat in the microwave or purchases ready made meals for which he can do the same.

He thinks he might have had one of the original microwave ovens.

He remembers it being called the "Radarange."

Some quick research shows that, in 1967, Raytheon offered for sale the first popular in home countertop microwave oven; the "Radarange."

It sold then for almost $500, close to roughly $4000 in today's dollars.

So it's easy to make a couple of conclusions:

1. Since about age 49 he's been microwave Joe
2. Back then he was rolling in the dough!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy tears

Mr. G (name changed). is 87 years old and has advanced dementia.

I saw him recently for a medical evaluation.

His wife is his devoted caregiver and showed me all the many picture Christmas cards of their children and extended families.

They have a beautiful family.

Mrs. G. wanted me to know more about this man who now has great difficulty communicating.

"I married my first husband at age 16 and we had 4 children. He died unexpectedly from a brain hemorrhage. I didn't know what I would do. Rob was a college professor. We fell in love and got married two years later. The kids were all still so young. We've been married for 54 years and he's been a wonderful father. We had a family celebration at our 40th wedding anniversary and everyone wanted us to give a speech. Rob's was short. He wanted to thank two people: my mother for giving birth to me and my first husband for being the biological father of his 4 amazing children. There was not a dry eye in the room that day."

There was still not a dry eye in our room.

Human lameness

I've often been jealous of my veterinary colleagues who get to use the term "lame" to describe a variety of physical illness/diseases that usually afflict older animals.

There's finally a human equivalent: Frail.

Frailty is an important medical syndrome that occurs as a result of a range of diseases and medical conditions. A consensus group agreed on the following: it has multiple causes and contributors and is characterized by diminished strength, endurance, and reduced physiologic function that increase an individual’s vulnerability for developing increased dependency and/or death.

Two commonly used and validated tools are:

The FRAIL tool:

The FRAIL tool asks five questions and those who answer yes to at least three likely are frail.
·         Fatigue: Are you fatigued?
·         Resistance: Do you have difficulty walking up one flight of steps?
·         Aerobic: Are you unable to walk at least one block?
·         Illness: Do you have more than five illnesses?
·         Loss of weight: Have you lost more than 5 percent of your weight in the past six months?

And the Clinical Frailty Scale:


The four things that are currently identified as being able to potentially improve physical frailty include exercise, protein-calorie supplementation, Vitamin D (when low), and the reduction of polypharmacy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An inordinate preoccupation with oneself?

Here's part of an interesting 2006 article published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine:

"Physical disease as a narcissistic threat. Sigmund Freud, in his landmark work On Narcissism: An Introduction wrote that, when in a state of physical stress such as illness,"the egoism of the instinct of self-preservation" is expressed.

Illness and disease are a threat to a person's integrity. It's therefore, not uncommon for many competent, responsible individuals, when faced with the threat of an illness, to behave in an uncharacteristic manner.

Today, this situation may be compounded by an excessive preoccupation and search for information relating to their symptoms/ illness on the Internet, as well as by the breakdown of relationships, family life and community structure that has been such a characteristic of the 21st century.

All of this may contribute to a feeling of loneliness and alienation in the suffering individual and further engender a sense of need to fend for oneself as well as a distrust of the medical system."

I’m sure this would also pertain to “emotional” disease.

Many folks have very poor social supports in terms of empathy and optimal communication with significant others and have become very computer savvy. 

I can't stop pondering how Freud came up with "the egoism of the instinct of self-preservation" quote in 1914.

Scary smart guy!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A hardened heart

"I'm going to need to have some labs drawn when possible," I mentioned to the nurse as I was about to leave the patient's home.

"Are you a heart stick?" I heard the nurse, who was of Caribbean descent (and still had an accent), ask the patient.

I stopped at the door.

"What, I don't understand," said the patient.

"Has anyone ever told you that you were a heart stick?" the nurse repeated.

"I don't think I've ever had a heart stick," said the patient.

Finally, I interrupted,"She wants to know if you are a hard stick, h-a-r-d...if it's ever been hard to draw your blood in the past."

"Oh...I don't think so. Thanks for clarifying. I was a little worried there for a moment that I might be sicker than I thought."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The balls are still in play

Three Dads (including me) were talking at a Christmas party gathering at my daughter's riding barn.

One of the Dad's had two young children running around.

Another asked him if he was going to have more kids.

"No," he replied, "I'm a Gelding. I used to be a Stallion but now I'm a Gelding."

We all laughed.

We determined that we were now all Geldings.

We shared some more laughs reminiscing about our vasectomies; we even hammed it up whenever our wives came by.

All the way home my wife gave me a realty check.

"At least you only had your tubes cut. Stallions have their balls cut off," she reminded me.

"Yep, you're right," I said while just slightly squirming at the reminder.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

One-armed bandits

I hadn't seen Mr. A. for awhile but he just sort of seemed out of it.

He was still in bed when I got to his house at about 10 AM.

He's a 78 y/o male who had a previous major stroke but I was worried he had something acute taking place that was making him so drowsy.

After examining him and looking for signs of infection I relayed my concerns to his wife who had been standing next to me the whole time.

"I'm a little worried about your husband. I'm thinking I might need to run a few tests to try and see if everything is alright," I said to Mrs. A..

"Oh he's OK," said Mrs. A., "he just had an exciting night. We didn't get back from the Hard Rock Casino until a few hours ago. He's just still sleepy. He didn't get to bed until almost 4 AM."

She let me know that he could still play the slot machines without any trouble (his previous stroke had "only" left him paralyzed on one side of his body).

I sure wasn't expecting her comment.

I hadn't mentioned noticing the new handicapped accessible mini-van in their drive-way so I guess Mrs. A. decided not to mention being out so late partying.

I left their home sort of grinning to myself.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Still brings grins

Mr. Farner (name changed) let me know he tricked his wife into thinking he was rich before they married because he dressed well and had a nice car.

He reports that it wasn't until later that she found out his nickname for most of his life had been "All Show, No Dough Farner."

They are now both in the 90's.

I'm sure he has told this story a lot over their 65 years of marriage but hearing both laugh after all these years was still pretty awesome.

A memorable face

On meeting 85 y/o Mr. W. for the first time I said, "it's great to finally put a face to your name."

About 15 minutes later he said, "I gotta ask ya, did my face disappoint you (he laughed)?"

"I'm sorry, why would you ask that," I replied.

He then reminded me of my opening comment.

We both laughed and I decided I could hold off on asking him any short term memory questions for now.

I left laughing at the thought that the same couldn't be said for me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Redneck Medical Dictionary-not sure of the origin but it's funny

Medical Term
Redneck Definition
Artery The study of paintings
Bacteria Back door to cafeteria
Barium What doctors do when patients die
Benign What you be, after you be eight
Caesarean Section A neighborhood in Rome
Cat scan Searching for Kitty
Cauterize Made eye contact with her
Colic A sheep dog
Coma A punctuation mark
Dilate To live long
Enema Not a friend
Fester Quicker than someone else
Fibula A small lie
Impotent Distinguished, well known
Labor Pain Getting hurt at work
Medical Staff A Doctor's cane
Morbid A higher offer
Nitrates Rates of Pay for Working at Night,
Normally more money than Days
Node I knew it
Outpatient A person who has fainted
Pelvis Second cousin to Elvis
Post Operative A letter carrier
Recovery Room Place to do upholstery
Rectum Nearly killed him
Secretion Hiding something
Seizure Roman Emperor
Tablet A small table
Terminal Illness Getting sick at the airport
Tumor One plus one more
Urine Opposite of you're out