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A South African Surgeon Flees The Twilight Zone

We can sometimes look good in our jobs. I suppose it comes with the territory. But sometimes this is not a good thing.

Danville is an interesting place. Actually the place itself is drab but it is full of interesting people. To say it is populated by the lower echelons of the gene pool is an understatement of note. For some reason every reprobate and inbreed seems to have found their way there. Throw a few generations of fetal alcohol syndrome into the mix and you have the average Danville resident. Then add a strong predilection to grandpa (a local aspirin caffeine headache powder) to round off with. Usually when they presented to the hospital it is with a bleeding peptic ulcer or a perforated peptic ulcer. In fact they seldom present to us with anything else. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

You Know You Have Diabetes When …

You know you’re a diabetic when … you see what appears to be this:


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*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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.


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*

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