Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Insulin pen remembers your doses

…Eli Lilly has introduced an insulin “pen,” which records your doses. It’s (somewhat weirdly) called the HumaPen MEMOIR.

…It has a “push to know” display that allows patients to record the last 16 doses.

…It’s preloaded with Humalog, the Eli Lilly insulin brand and will also come with smaller doses.

…It doesn’t look needle-like and is discreet.

…The easier to use, the better for diabetics to remain compliant, the company says.

…In another study, a third of patients studied said at least once a month, they had forgotten whether they had taken their insulin.

…Of experienced pen users, 81% preferred this one. Pens are popular in Europe, apparently, but here most of the nation’s 4 million diabetics who inject insulin use the needle and vial.

…One possible catch. It costs $100 plus the cost of insulin. (Lilly will offer half-price coupons.)

…Lilly says it took seven years to develop this device. Is it any wonder drugs—and insulin pens--cost so much?

…For more info, go to (Pen pictured not the Memoir--an uploadable version was not available. The Memoir however, looked more Cross-like and less clunky than this one.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BYO mud?

…On February 24, 2007, the WSJ wrote about do-it-yourself spas. The reporter was invited to go out on a partially secluded lanai off the pool of a fancy hotel and smear on her own mud wrap.

…Then, when hardened or detoxed her or whatever, she could hose herself off in sight of loungers at the pool.

…She opted against.

…Apparently the fancy spa industry expanded too fast and demand is not keeping up, presumably resulting in cuts in staff and extra-tony service.

…Trained massage or facial therapists want $50 an hour and up.

…Self-serve, the story said, has novelty appeal to spa goers. Right, novelty appeal.

…Hotels like the Four Seasons, charge $1,000 for a spa day. At those prices, smearing on your own mud is not an enticement.

…One woman who has tried it both ways says she pays as much as $350 for full-service eucalyptus scrubs and prefers not to scrub herself.

…Is this all one for The Big Book of Duh?

…Well, the WSJ apparently thought it deserved further attention and they made the ultimate sacrifice of trying both methods in several places. At the self-serve places, they found it was hard to follow complicated treatments and still stay relaxed.

…One was the DIY mud bar at the Ritz Carlton. Patrons paint each other with different colored muds and then shower, with a therapist then stepping in to apply lemon-scented lotion and a professional massage. The cost? $370 for a couple for 90 minutes.

…This was $20 less than for a regular couples outing.

…HA would want the Cabana Boy. Period. Not that this will ever occur.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Boring old bird flu

…Bird flu had its 15 minutes a while back and everyone yelled, “Check, please,” and it was over with.

…Oh, but we are fickle and foolish.

…The dreaded H5N1 virus is on farms circling Moscow, it’s marching across Asia, has nipped into Africa, and is still amongst us. So far, however, it is not being passed person to person.

…According to a story in the NYT by Donald G McNeil, Jr (February 15, 2007), this thing is still as dangerous and unpredictable as ever.

…Avian flu isn’t killing a lot of people compared with AIDS or something, but it killed more in 2006 than in the previous years. Fatality rates are up, too—61%. (This could, weirdly, be good news because it may kill people before they can pass it on.)

…One doc told the Times that when virologists go to a meeting and let their hair down, after four beers, they admit they are humbled by this virus.

…In other words, it could still kick our collective asses.

…For some reason, scientists in this story riffed off on the Chinese year system. We survived the Year of the Chicken and Year of the Dog, one said, but will we survive the Year of the Pig (that would be this year).

…HA thinks this question might have been raised after that fourth beer, but moving along…

…The virus, they say (soberingly), is out of control in poultry in Indonesia, Nigeria, and Egypt. Rumor has it—China too is affected.

…Still poultry is still on sale in open markets in Nigeria, and 80% of Indonesian households keep chickens.

…Still, there is a glimmer of good news—fewer migrating birds are toting this thing around.

…Scientists also say it would be pretty sucky (well-known science word) if people with regular old horrible flu also got this—they can mix.

…HA says this is cause for a flu shot—and another beer.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yearning most intense stage of grief

…HA probably should quit her bellyachin’ over her dead dog Spencer, but she doesn’t want to! Her belly still aches!

…It’s been two months—several face-crumples and cries a day, everything in the house associated with him, and so on. At night, he is not there to snuggle and in the morning to lick her wrist. People walk up to the door and are suddenly there—unchallenged. There are no snappy brown eyes gazing at her meals. Not there, not there, not there.

…A recent study in the J Am Med Assn looked into those famous five stages of grief.

…The accepted “Five Stages of Grief” are disbelief, yearning, anger, depression, and acceptance. HA would say anger is after disbelief, and only slowly leads to yearning, constant yearning.

…The Harvard people said if acceptance is not reached in six months, maybe professional help is needed.

…HA’s family is trying to get her on anti-depressants now. Take a pill, take a pill! No! She wants her dog back.

…The researchers also said, however, that yearning or missing the loved one is far more prevalent as a stage than depression.

…They took this to mean that professionals might refocus the person to the yearning stage if depression had set in. Oh, great, more yearning.

…Yearning, not sadness, is what grieving is all about, the docs said. “Yearning, pining, longing, and being angry and protesting that you can’t have this person back.”

…In the 233 people studied, disbelief reached a peak about a month in, then declined.

…Yearning steadily increased and reached a high four months before declining.

…Anger reaches a peak at five months.

…Depression increases and peaks at six months.

…Meanwhile acceptance is creeping in all along. They say.

…HA has a way to go and don’t even mention that Spencer was not a person. He was her heart.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Indulge all your senses--at your desk

…Margarita Bauza, writing in the Detroit Free Press, quotes Chris Scharrer, exec director of Leadership Oakland in Michigan, as saying you need to exercise all your senses, including that humor one, while at work.

…Simple joys of life—even at work—seems to be the idea.

…Your sense of sight can enhance your work day if you have at least one pleasurable point of focus…a picture, screen saver, flower, something.

…Look out the window (if you have one), watch the trees blow or the trash fly out of the cans and twirl down the alley or whatever. Concentrate on it for a second.

…During your commute, try to control what you hear besides fighting kids or traffic horns.

…Whatever you have for a snack, make it last, enjoy each bite.

…When you pick up your warm coffee mug, wrap your hands around it—take comfort.

…Peel an orange, watch the oils spring into the air, smell the fragrance.

….Note: Toner does not provide the same olfactory rush.

…HA thinks a sense of irony is also valuable at work and should be exercised at every turn.

…You spent so much time in your career peeling oranges and listening for the lilt of a cell phone that you can’t retire now and have even more time to enjoy the feast of the senses we like to call work.

…Relax, HA is just being HA. Go have a nice bubble bath in the restroom.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Addicted to HBO? Just wait

…Beginning March 15, HBO is splashing with a 14-part documentary series on drug and alcohol addiction called The Addiction Project.

…As 1 in 4 Americans struggles with a family member addicted to something, addiction itself is being redefined. Now, experts look at it as a chronic, treatable brain malfunction as manageable as diabetes or asthma.

…It’s not lack of character or skankiness. Chemistry, babies!

…Of course, this thing is going big—a book, DVDs, website, podcasts, web streams, indie films on addiction! Everything but lunch boxes (hey, maybe HA gave them an idea).

…20 heavyweight doc makers will be showcased. People such as Jon Alpert, Barbara Kopple, and Albert Maysles.

…Drug abuse costs $366 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity.

…More than 22 million adults need treatment for illicit drugs or alcohol, but only about 4 billion get it. The reason? Cost! Insurance barriers! Who but the Britneys of the world can go to rehab?

…You only have to look at the battered wives shelters, workplace fatalities and injuries, automobile accident stats, burglaries, robberies, murders, broken homes, shattered families and total heartbreak to see that drugs and alcohol have touched almost everyone’s life in one way or another.

…If there are biological reasons more and more people get addicted and fewer can quit or control it, it’s time to look at this.

…Police time and endangerment and paying for people to sit in jail has always seemed wrong-headed to HA. The War on Drugs, so-called, has ruined lives and is a failure.

…Talk about treating a symptom while the disease runs away with the body.

…HBO. March 15th. It’s not TV—it’s medical education.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Could you be taking fake pills?

…Yipes! Parade (Feb 18, 2007) contained a story by Tom Zoellner that says even mainstream pharmacies may be selling counterfeit pills.

…People take them and don’t get well—or may get sicker.

…The World Health Organization says that up to 10% of pills sold worldwide are counterfeit.

…Purveyors of street drugs find less risk in hawking Lipitor or Ambien.

…Pfizer even has its own police force out trying to track these idiots down.

…Recently some Lipitor sold in the Midwest started tasting bitter to patients—and the fakes were discovered,

…Some suppliers also uplabel—say a 10 mg pill is really a more expensive 40 mg pill.

…The Internet is rife with bogus drugs—so beware. Anyone can sell fake medicine. This is not regulated on the internet.

…This is not huge yet—53 recorded cases in the US last year, up from a handful.

…Anyway, these bums don’t want to kill people—it would be like a parasite killing the host or Granny axing the goldern goose.

…Therefore, expensive long-term drugs such as AIDS medicine may be counterfeited. Erectile dysfunction meds—same.

…Drug wholesalers are fighting back, attaching Radio Frequency Identification devices (RFID), which track drugs from factory to pharmacy, no matter how many middle men come in between.

…As it is, 40 million prescriptions handed out each year aren’t what they are claimed to be. In some cases, someone knows about this and did it deliberately.

…What can you do? Don’t buy drugs online unless it’s from a legit pharmacy. Look at your pills—is the color running in your damp hand or is the logo all funky? If pills are suddenly a different color, your pharmacy may have changed generics—but ask. And if you suddenly have your symptoms return—ask the pharmacist.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Protect your hands

…HealthBeat, the Harvard health letter, wrote on Feb 15, 2007, about hands and hand diseases and deformities.

…Hands are er, handy—and visible.

…We tend to take them for granted (like eyes, hint, hint).

…Hand pain, swollen joints, or finger deformities, the newsletter noted, can cause embarrassment and feelings of helplessness.

…Two big causes of pain are arthritis and carpal tunnel. But lupus, gout, cysts, and tendonitis can also afflict the hands.

…One in three adults has arthritis. It’s the leading cause of disability among Americans.

…There are 100 kinds of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. An injury can trigger it. Repetitive motion can trigger pain like arthritis, but does not cause osteoarthritis in the hands.

…That is our friend carpal tunnel, which afflicts 2-3% of Americans, twice as many women as men.

…The pain, weakness, and tingling most often crops up in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half the ring finger. It can get so bad it wakes you up.

…Gradually it can become hard to make a fist or grab things. Surgery may be needed.

…To keep your paws pain free: Keep your wrists in a neutral position at the keyboard. Don’t flex down or up.

…Get up and stretch once an hour.

….Those split keyboards and other new wrinkles? Not yet studied and shown to be effective. Who knows—they could make it worse.

…Some people wear arm braces at work. See what the doctor says. One approach is to work less and get up and stop typing.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Dog anna two

…HA once lived below a couple with a standard poodle who would put his arms on the wife’s shoulders and dance. He was huge! It was so cute, it began HA’s love of poodles and dogs with poodle anywhere in them.

…Writing for the AP, Kim Nguyen talks about a new art form—dancing with your pooch.

..Canine freestyle, my babies—to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie!” Forget the Pilates—this is exercise.

…The craze is invading kennels, doggie day cares and stock shows everywhere. The duos, human and better than human, dress up like square dancers!

…One woman did the splits while her dog jumped over her legs, Nguyen reports.

...Uh, OK.

…In another story on this, one woman said her dog had better rhythm than she did and she felt like a clodhopper compared with her pet.

…The musical selections mentioned seemed a little country-ish/excessively patriotic (“It’s a Grand Old Flag,” etc).

…But there are doggie dance clubs now in Colorado and elsewhere. And a trade association—World Canine Freestyle Assn in New York (

…Fifteeen thousand people may be out there waltzing around with Fido.

…In Britain, this is so popular, it’s part of the huge Crufts Dog Show.

…All agreed—This will put a smile on your face, even the dog’s.
…Like that poodle did so long ago.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Out of rehab--all better now?

…Loree Taylor Jordan, author of Detox for Life and Fat and Furious, is called the Colonic Queen (and you thought your nicknames were bad).

…She takes on the shrimpy little Hollywood princesses knocking back the shooters, DUI-ing, "fainting," etc.

…She says all these gals are in denial.

…Anorexia is really about being out of control and acting out, she says. The victim seeks to seize control of food—if nothing else.

…But at the same time, they lose control of their health.

…The only way to break the cycle is with honesty. They must admit they are in danger.

…The media, Jordan says, seems to think that if someone goes to rehab, they are done with the problem.

…Once you have an addiction—it is never over!

…Sober weeks turn into sober months, then sober years.

…Jordan has struggled with these problems herself for years. She once drank only water.

…HA wonders where the colonic thing enters in. Isn’t that a form of purging? Is it addictive?

…HA means for others, not for her.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Know where that breast milk's been?

…The Washington Post had a story by Shannon Henry on the safety of donated breast milk.

…Everyone knows that breast milk is good for babies, better than formula, if a mother can possibly nurse.

…This is the general rule, but there can be exceptions.

…There are 10 nonproft milk banks that match mothers and donors and are accredited by the Human Milk Banking Assn of North America (

…There are also for-profit banks and wet nurses.

…Other people swap milk with neighbors and friends.

…HA had never heard of this organizational network. Others worry that it is too underground and not regulated enough.

…HIV and syphilis can pass through milk. Many banks shut down during the height of the AIDS epidemic, but are reopening.

…If you want breast milk for your baby and cannot nurse or are on medication or something, the first step is to go to an accredited HMBANA milk bank. They freeze the milk and ship it for as little as $2.90 an ounce.

…Another approach would be to a doctor who knows the donor and can test the milk.

…You need to be careful of for-profit places, which could be scammy and offer chalk mixed with water or have poor or no quality control. Think about it—if a woman is selling her breast milk, she has just had a baby and may be overwrought or eating a poor diet because of lack of money.

…Other sites offer wet nurses. One place, in Hollywood, started this because women with implants were having trouble nursing. These women may charge $1000 a week or more.

…Some mothers in a community, the story said, nurse each other’s babies. Remember, each woman has different antibodies.

…Breast milk is medicine as well as food. Proceed intelligently.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bad side effect--losing all your money

…Did Restless Leg Syndrome just start? People in the commercials are depicted as having cartoon ants swarming over their gams.

…A woman in one is trying eat lunch with her brother and has to leap up and sort of run in place. Apparently, he says, yeah, I get that, too.

…I am sure it’s awful to have that feeling—but the commercials are sort of funny, at least to a person as warped as HA.

…OK, enough mocking of the afflicted!

…The Mayo Clinic, though, has done a study saying the major medicine for this—a dopamine receptor stimulator—can turn you into a compulsive gambler or if you already gamble, make you a worse risk-taker.

…Two cases they documented featured patients who ran up losses of more than $100K.

…This was reported in the Jan 23 issue of Neurology.

…Although this quirky side effect occurs rarely, docs are now advised to ask about a person’s gaming history before prescribing. Family members also are asked to rat the person out if they sneak out to the track or casino.

…Dopamine agonists have also caused gambling impulse control problems when given to Parkinson’s patients, though in much larger doses.

…Problems began in the patients Mayo studied about nine months after starting pramipexole or ropinirole. These target the part of the brain involved in reward behaviors.

…One woman on ropinirole was in a casino and bam! She was drawn to the gambling, even though she previously thought gamblers were “sick.”

…After losing $140K, she went off the medicine, lost the will to hit the slots, but also got her Restless Legs back. She was put on another medication and is fine now.

…HA guesses the only restless legs patients should see are theirs—not a race horse’s or greyhound’s.

Monday, February 12, 2007

How much do you want the doc to tell you?

…HA mentioned Jessie Gruman’s book After Shock (see Jan 31, archives, at right). Now Jessie has an interesting piece in the Washington Post (Feb 6, 2007), concerning the different styles people have in managing their own health care.

…We need to gather information and ask questions in this day and age, but she thinks people have different levels of wanting to know—or wanting to know all at once.

…She quotes Suzanne Miller, a psychologist at the Chase Cancer Center in Philly, who says that people tend to be “blunters” (those who have little interest in seeking info and learning risks) and “monitors” (those who go after every scrap of info).

…Collecting information is important, Jessie says. You need to be able to say yes or no to the doctor’s recommendations. You also need a mental model of what is going on with you. If you know exactly with the treatment is doing to help, you are more likely to put up with it.

..You also need to know that state-of-the-art treatment varies from geographical area to geographical area in the country. You may have more choices than you think.

…You also need to know details so you can provide a medical record. Most of this record-keeping is decentralized these days.

…Even cancer does not move so fast that you can’t take a week to get another opinion or read up.

…People from every educational level, and this often is a family member not the patient, can quickly get into this medical world and glean education, according to one authority.

…Blunters, though, tend to downplay the research. One professor said he would be insulted if someone told him his job—that this was the doctor’s job.

…But there is a fine line between monitoring and researching everything and getting ”over educated” to the point of being too scared.

…In one of her diagnoses, colon cancer, Jessie says she let her husband do the research and didn’t get into it too much. Then when she voiced fears, he was able to say, “From what I have read, I don’t think that is going to happen.”

…Her recommendation: No matter what your preference for detail, learn enough to make the right decisions for you.

…HA is battling a funky retina that might or might not be detaching again. The doc says she is at a “crossroads.”

…When she has to face the next step, she prefers to learn about it then. Time enough.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Emailing your doctor

…According to USA Today (Feb 5, 2007), only 8% of adults have ever received an email from their physician.

…Yet, 25% of docs say they do use email.

…Medicine is behind on this, the experts say. Some reasons? Docs worry about confidentiality and also think this will take a lot of unpaid time on their part.

…They also think patients may email them about having a stroke or heart attack and thus die before the doctor checks his incoming.

…HA once emailed with a doctor. Silence fell. Later she learned it was his kid’s computer and the kid took it to his mother’s house.


…Other doctors don’t admit to typing. And don’t want to.

…Studies have shown, though, that patients do not abuse this privilege.

…So many times, this would have saved HA time and a copay for something where she absolutely did not need to be seen. And she certainly did not think her question was worth wrangling a ride, paying $20 and waiting for hours, a day shot.

…She has tried laying out a question and faxing it to the doctor, too. Usually these get no response whatsoever. Not even a call from an assistant relaying the doc’s response.

…Just the big No Answer.

…Maybe someday.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do you really need that One A Day?

…According to Sally Squires, writing in the Washington Post on Jan 16, 2007, more than half of Americans take a multivitamin each day, but the evidence is not conclusive that there is any good reason.

…According to a panel at the National Institutes of Health, there is not enough evidence to say this is good—or that it is bad.

…Still, we fork out $23 billion a year for those things.

…Even the AMA has said it’s a good idea to cover bases by taking a vitamin pill each day.

…Now, though, there is some evidence this could even be bad. Vitamin A can be overdone and can even lead to increased risk of osteoporosis if consumed in too large quantities.

…Many vitamin pills have 100% of the daily requirement, so what happens if you then eat a calcium-rich salad or drink milk or eat carrots? You know—eat stuff?

…Folate is another one. It’s good for child-bearing age women who might get pregnant and not know it in the early stages when their babies’ spines are forming. So now, they are chucking folate into bread, pasta, etc. Too much can be bad for older people!

…At very least, scientists say, don’t take a daily vitamin with 100% levels.

…Also, if you are 50 or older, think about taking a vitamin B12 supplement. This will help you fend off the folates in everything.

…Or would it be a case of here we go again?

…HA has heard that “timed release” vitamins are sort of ineffective in older people. Has anyone else heard that? Something about aging stomachs—HA repressed it.

…She ran out of those special, senior, silver, heavy-duty vitamins ages ago. Not reupping.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tick, tick, tick...see ya

…Eric Nagourny writes in the NYT (Feb 6, 2007) about the compressed timeframe of today’s doctor visit. The managed care system has created an assembly-line atmosphere of long waits followed by lightning-fast encounters.

…Some researchers at Texas A&M videotaped 400 sessions with older patients, 65 and up.

…Patients brought up an average of six subjects and got a 5-minute answer for one and about a minute for the others.

…A doc HA’s Mom saw had a sign in his office, saying, “Due to new Medicare reimbursements, one question per visit will be answered.”

…You know what? HA knows docs have it hard, but come ON! Sit on a tack with that one! Older people have stuff falling off them—take it from HA. They have trouble explaining and articulating what might be a quite complicated sequence of events.

…HA once had a doctor make hurry-up hand motions while she talked!

…When the doctor stands there almost the whole visit with his or her hand on the doorknob trying to look casual and caring, well, it’s stress-making!

…In another context, though, the “doorknob moment” refers to the things people bring up right at the end of their doctor appt.

Now, this is on US—the patients.

…HA has written on this subject for WebMD. The most common “embarrassing” things people don’t bring up right away are mental illness, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual orientation, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder changes, obesity, diabetes, domestic violence, memory loss, and drug abuse.

…Look at it this way—you won’t have much time. Don’t be shy—most docs have heard it all.

…Even WAY yuckier stuff than you have!

…So spit it out.

…Ooops, bad choice of words.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yummm, red food

…Aw, the V-day hype. Even HA can’t resist.

…Jennifer Baumann, MS, RD, LDN, director of nutrition at, says EAT RED.

…Red veggies are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, which are thought to protect against cancer, heart disease, and aging. Peppers, beets, tomatoes, red cabbage, the color itself is the protectant.

…Looking at red also makes you hungrier.

…Red citrus is aces! Ruby red grapefruit, blood oranges, strawberries, raspberries, cherries! Don’t forget the nonfat topping, anyone.

…Red wine, ah, yes. A glass a day may help your health.

…Red wine-based dressings are better for you than creamy ones (what IS it with ranch anyhow—did cowboys eat a lot of salads?). Some people even believe vinegar has fat-disposing properties.

…Red sauce…Italian food! Tomato sauce is loaded with lycopene, which can be good for prostate health. Olive oil also has a role in preventing certain cancers.

…Lean red meat is okay in moderation and contains tons of Omega 3s, B vits, niaicin, zinc and iron.

…Red kidney beans, don’t forget those. They are crammed with anti-oxys.

…Red chilies, it is theorized, make you hot so you consume more oxygen. This may make you burn more cals.

…Red water? Sure add food coloring! Or maybe a splash of cranberry. Good for the bladder.

…Or make red Jell-O!

…Darn! Chocolate is not red! Maybe dark chocolate brown could be the “new red”?

…OK, let’s say it is.

…HA isn’t sure where the lobster fits. But she likes lobster.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ask your doctor

…Don’t you love those commercials that say, “Is this right for you? Ask your doctor.”

…Like it’s so easy to ask the doctor.

…HA is old school enough to think the doctor ought to ask US about these things. But we all know this relationship is more interactive now.

…Anyhow, along these lines, Pamela F. Gallin, MD, writes about some tests you might want to suggest to your doctor. Her story appears in the February Reader’s Digest.

…If you have back or joint pain, Gallin recommends asking: “Besides arthritis or injury, what could be causing this?” Possibilities are prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, or kidney stones. Osteoporosis could also be the culprit. Or Lyme Disease, lupus, or bone cancer.

…If you are suddenly having horrible headaches or even just one that is the worst of your life, ask your doctor: “Could this be an aneurysm?” If this headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting or seizures, rush to the ER.

…If you had the flu and still feel lousy, how do you know if you really had the flu?
Ask the doctor about pneumonia, lung cancer, mono, strep, staph or Lyme’s.

…If you find a lump and get a mammo and are told you’re fine, ask for an ultrasound. The combo of mammo and ultrasound is pretty powerful.

…Chest pain down the left arm, cold, clammy, nauseated? It could be a heart attack. But in women, these classic symptoms can be modified into a crappy feeling, an aching chest, shortness of breath, or indigestion. Say, “Am I having a heart attack? Let’s draw enzymes.” A heart attack releases enzymes from the damaged heart muscle into the blood.

…If you have a stroke, you have 3 hrs to get some anticlotting medicine into you. Symptoms are a sudden difficulty speaking, inability to use an arm or leg, or facial paralysis. Sometimes symptoms aren’t even this dramatic. If you have a doubt, call 911 and say “What about giving clot-busting drugs right now?”

…If your abdomen hurts or you are shaky and the ER tries to sort of blow it off, ask for an abdominal CT scan. Every year, 250,000 people get appendicitis, yet many are misdiagnosed.

…If your child is weak or has abnormal pupil responses, might he or she have fallen and clunked their head? You can’t be around all the time. Suggest the possibility to the doctor.

…In an ideal world, every doctor would think of every ailment from every symptom. But it’s your body. Speak up!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Paid naps

…Natasha Singer writes in the NYT (Feb 1, 2007) about nap salons that are cropping up. That’s nap, not nail.

…These are special places for people to sleep. No, not a hotel room, not a spa. A spa? How 15 minutes ago can you get?

…No, these are places for people to dispose of their spare money to sleep.

…One, called Yelo, in NY, has seven private rooms that can be rented for 20-40 minutes.

…Each chamber has a beige leather recliner (oops, no hot sheets), dimmer lighting, a drowsy soundtrack and a cashmere blanket.

…Clients also book foot massages for $65 to send them off to dreamland.

…Sleep is the new bottled water, quipped the author. (Arg.)

…Everyone is piling on to make people think they aren’t sleeping well. Restless nights have been medicalized now.

…In those commercials, Abe Lincoln and that beaver gas on about how people need to dream.

…People are soaking in sweet-smelling baths, huffing aromatherapy, breathing special ways.

…Those napping pods at Yelo? They called called YeloCabs.

…Don’t try to tell me that beaver didn’t come up with that one!

…If HA jumped into a YeloCab, draped herself in secondhand cashmere, and paid to nap, she would have eyes wide open as the meter ticked.