Link Love and Commentary

I have been keeping a few articles open in tabs all week because I wanted to bring them together…

#1 – AARP talking about how (and what) to organize as a caregiver.  Excellent group of things and I cannot imagine what I would add.

#2 Turning web words into audio files.  Nick is talking specifically about journal articles but I don’t think the web reader would be that picky.  Great resource for people who want to stay connected to news and hobbies but can no longer comfortably read or sit at a computer.

#3 Shared Medical Appointments. Build community, get questions answered, hear both clinical and layperson suggestions for adaptation – what more could you want?  Of course, then the other people in the room know you have a specific condition but that isn’t all bad.

#4 Self-Management. A logical step in healthcare as folks become more interested in maintaining their own health.  Sad that it still seems like a mystery and a clinical inconvenience for some folks but it is just what happens as patients get educated and empowered.


Now, truth time, wordpress ate this once and I really hope it doesn’t gobble it up again because as much as I love these links my generally soapbox commentary just keeps getting smaller every time.



Caregiving and making things

I talked with Denise today on her web radio show (the link goes to the podcast file).  I am also volunteering with her in a couple of capacities and I’m going to get a chance to do some writing for her.

Who is she?  She is from and and she does a lot of work with people who are caregiving and when that process ends she helps them transition out of their caregiving role.  She is also charming and interesting and I am having a blast getting to know her.

For people who are just entering a caregiving situation it is important to start to build your community because there are days when you love your caree but don’t like them much.  Their are days when people will give you a pitying look and tell you that you are a saint when what you want is a shower and to listen to your own music really really really loud.

I find the work she is doing, and the dedication with which she works at it very inspiring.  Go check it out, and sign up if what you need is a little support as you become a caregiver.


National Geographic & Antibiotics

That sounds like I’m out sick – but I’m not.

The article “When You Swallow A Grenade” looks at the microbe impact of taking antibiotics.  It talks primarily about about it in a broad, layman’s way – just as they should.  Carl Zimmer does a great storytellers job of talking about what happens to a persons entire body chemistry when they are on antibiotics.  (Ladies, you know what we’re talking about here, right???)

It leads me to a minor confession – I am selectively dishonest about taking antibiotics that have been prescribed for me.

IF I am prescribed antibiotics and in the conversation with the MD/PA/NP it appears to be an actual *infection* of some sort, I will take them – as prescribed – every last one of them.  I generally add a probiotic / yogurt / kefir but not in immediately adjacent to the antibiotic.

IF the doctor mumbles something about a virus, or worse, appears to walk in the door with a prescription in mind — theeeeeeeen, I’m much less likely to get the prescription filled.  I am perfectly comfortable with feeling like crud while my body works it out on it’s own.

The other confession – I practice poor communication because I do not turn down the prescription.

I do not engage my MD/PA/NP by saying that I’m not planning on taking it, in doing so I don’t give them the chance to tell me that it is important, or that it is fine, or any of that other stuff that they might want to say.  I never open that door.

It isn’t completely my job, obviously, I wish MD/PA/NP felt more comfortable telling patients to rest and take care of themselves in a way that doesn’t involve antibiotics – but they aren’t.  I believe in patient engagement and a patient being a partner in their care … I suppose that next time it means I’ll need to own my choices and let them know when I’m not going to fill a prescription.  I want to open that door.

For a shiver in your spine

I wish I had known “medical historian” was a thing a long time ago because it is AWESOME.

Lindsey Fitzharris at The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice  is showing off some great medical history stuff and she is getting ready to launch a Kickstarter campaign for show development.

Part of the fascination with medical history, for me, is the false sense that we have made a lot of progress from the leech days.  I don’t think we really have, and in so many ways we are too quickly using up what progress we have made.

I can imagine in 200 years talking about a Golden Age of Antibiotics when we had plenty of variety and they generally worked for what we needed them for.  I don’t think that will be forever true.  I think history will show us being too self-absorbed and ignorant, to wasteful of our options for treating infectious illness.

I hope that someone is figuring out what we will do instead.

Anyhow, medical history is neat, Lindsey’s blog is a lot of fun, and a little bit creepy – which is just what you want in a medical history blog.

It has to start somewhere.

I have been giving this site the side-eye for a little while now.  It is time to start.

My professional life in healthcare is nearly 15 years long.  It has occasionally intersected with my personal healthcare hobbies, but often they (gratefully) are separate from each other.  After a lot of introspection I’ve decided that going after my bliss and making my living are best kept close but not enmeshed with each other.

So this space is for my healthcare hobbies and occasionally my professional opinion.  Mainly my hobbies, which are, as follows:

1.  The first six weeks after a critical illness diagnosis.

2.  Death, the grieving process, and the knowledge that death is often not the worst thing that could happen.

3.  Medical training, communication training, and patient engagement.

4.  Anatomy and physiology.

5.  Understanding the illnesses of those around me until I am comfortable announcing that I have earned my “Jr [specialty] badge”

I am a member of the Society of Participatory Medicine and the Berryl Institute.  I volunteer my time with local health related organizations.  I think about this stuff a lot.

So … why today?  Why do I finally start typing today?

Because Caitlin at The Order of The Good Death posted a great thing today – something she’d seen by Jen (who I am just now discovering) and I want to know where this is forever.  So now I know, it is in my first post.