Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Emergiblog Gets Scoped

lost voiceI hope you can read the print on this.

It’s a hoot!

Apparently, the Vacuum Tympan cures the most “desperate causes” of hoarseness and sore throat, massages vocal cords and gives immediate flexibility (to what?). Oh, and after it brings relief, “a permanent cure soon follows”.

Maybe it sucks out the phlegm. (Ewww…just writing that made me gag.)

It sort of looks like the old incentive spirometers we’d use for post-op patients.

Or maybe it’s a type of  nebulizer.

Frankly, it looks like a bong.

********************

I’m at that age where certain tests involving scopes and colons are recommended, so I did my duty as the good custodian of my health and scheduled the pre-test appointment.

(Don’t worry, this will not be a case of “TMI”.)

I’m sitting there with the GI doc going over my health history, when he notices I’m on Protonix. Based on this fact (and the fact that my upper abdomen is sore on palpation – well, duh, you’re pushing on it!) he says “Well, you are going to be out anyway, I might as well take a look down there, too!”.

Say what? I’m here for a tube up one end and you want to put a tube down the other end, too?

I swear to (insert-your-own-deity-here), my first thought was “dude, you’re just trying to add a procedure to crank up the income.”

I’m not proud that was my first thought, but I’m being honest here. “Sure!” he said. It might be a structural problem, we can make sure you don’t have Barrett’s Esophagus (note to self: look that up) and basically just know what we are dealing with.

Well, okay. But I don’t have indigestion/heartburn when I’m on Protonix; I’m rather asymtomatic, actually.

“What kind of anesthesia would you prefer? We can use Versed/Fentanyl or if you want, we can use proprofol.

Propofol? Dude, you can stick a tube anywhere you want.  Go for it!

*****

Easiest thing I’ve ever done. I have no idea why I waited so long. When I fell asleep Shania Twain was feeling like a woman and when I woke up, the Eagles were takin’ it easy and I wondered when the hell they were going to start!

I was done.

The procedure went well, the biopsies were taken (routine) and I would get my results by mail within two weeks.

*****

My colon rocks. No problems except divertiulosis and I can live without nuts and seeds.

It was the endoscopy that I almost refused that showed the problem.

The biopsies showed acid-induced esophageal and gastric inflammation.

What??? How??? I thought the Protonix was taking care of that!

*****

And then came the “treatment” boxes checked off.

“Keep taking your medicine for the next three months, then stop.”

Okay…if I have this inflammation now, why would I stop the medication? Won’t it get worse if I do?

“Please avoid Aspirin, Naprosyn, and Motrin. Tylenol is okay.”

Aw man, Motrin is my best friend, my right hand! It’s gotten me through many a rough shift; 12 hours in the ER can make you ache. Tylenol isn’t worth the powder it is printed on.

I took a swig of my Diet Pepsi.

“Avoid fatty foods…”

Okay, doing that already with ol’ Richard Simmons’ plan.

“…chocolate, peppermint, spearmint and smoking”

Bah – I don’t smoke and I can live without chocolate and who wants spearmint anyway?

Took another swig of Diet Pepsi.

“…alcohol…”

No biggie, I only have two Bud Lights a month, during Nascar races, and that’s only to support Kasey Kahne’s sponsor (and I know you all just doubled that to four per month…).

“Avoid caffeinated beverages…”

Uh oh.

Took a tiny swig of Diet Pepsi.

“Decaffeinated coffee…”

That…means…ohh nooooo…

*****

Oh HELL no.

I will NOT give up Starbucks.

Damn it!

I don’t smoke, I barely drink, I don’t do drugs, my diet has more fiber that corrugated cardboard, I’ve lost close to 30 pounds and I’m working on the other 25.

My only “vice” is a total addiction to Starbucks and the goal of someday mainlining Diet Pepsi.

It will be a cold day in hell before I give those up.

*****

I’m giving them up.

I know the effects of chronic esophageal and gastric inflammation can lead to bigger problems.

And in the scheme of things, given the impact a diagnosis can make on a life, this borders on laughable.

But we all talk about how the patient has to take responsibility for their health. I could keep on downing Starbucks twice a day and Diet Pepsi in my sleep and then whine because my Protonix isn’t working.

Or I can make the changes suggested and see if they will make a difference.

But how ironic that the main problem was found in a test I didn’t even know I needed; and how scary that I was essentially asymptomatic, but the inflammation was still there!

Kudos to the doc for being interested enough to find out why I had needed to be on Protonix to begin with.

I shudder to think what things would have looked like had I been on no medication.

*****

Who knows?

Maybe I can go off Protonix if these changes work.

And I can still go to Starbucks, only my new drink will be a Grande Skinny Vanilla Steamed Milk.

With a little cinammon on top.

Hey, a girl’s gotta have something to look forward to…

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

Latest Interviews

Caring For Winter Olympians In Sochi: An Interview With Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim

I am a huge fan of the winter Olympics partly because I grew up in Canada where most kids can ski and skate before they can run and partly because I used to participate in Downhill ski racing. Now that I m a rehab physician with a reconstructed knee I…

Read more »

How Do Hospital Executives Feel About Locum Tenens Agencies And Traveling Physicians?

I recently wrote about my experiences as a traveling physician and how to navigate locum tenens work. Today I want to talk about the client in this case hospital side of the equation. I ve had the chance to speak with several executives some were physicians themselves about the overall…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

Read more »

See all book reviews »