When Your Provider Says, “It’s All in Your Head”

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In a recent conversation with Annette, a young woman who has MS (multiple sclerosis), she described to me the first time she went for a drug infusion which had been prescribed by her neurologist.

She arrived for the session using her walker, barely able to keep her balance. Exhausted, she was finally able to get comfortable in the infusion chair. As the nurse began setting up the needle and catheter injection system into her vein, she looked at Annette and asked ...

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Preventing a Deadly Outcome from a Visit to the Doctor

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Today I’m sharing an experience with you in hopes of preventing something we do but don’t think about; something which can be dangerous.

At a recent doctor appointment, I found two people in the waiting room just hacking away, coughing up a storm, and very likely infecting others. They were together, and there for only a minute before the nurse took them back to the exam room, removing them from proximity to the rest of us who were waiting. I went ...

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The Surgical Assembly Line

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When I think of an assembly line, two images pop into my head:

  • The I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory episode where Lucy and Ethel are trying to wrap chocolates (and eat them too!) and can’t possibly keep up.
  • My high school history class, when we learned about Henry Ford’s invention of the concept of an assembly line, where hundreds of cars were being assembled in one day. It revolutionized manufacturing, helping companies produce much more than ever before.

I thought of both when ...

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Treat Your Human Body Like You Treat Your Car

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My friend Janet has a bad wound on her leg. It has been there for two months, and just looks worse and worse. Now it looks so bad she doesn’t even want to leave the house.

“What does your doctor say about it?” I asked her.

“I’ve been back to him five times!”, she responded. “He keeps giving me antibiotics, but it doesn’t seem to get any better.”

“Five times???” I asked her, incredulously.

It was time for “the talk” with Janet.

… the talk ...

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Ac-cen-tu-ate – the Negative?

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It’s time to take a trip with the Way-Back Machine to a song many of us heard when we were kids – because our parents played it on the radio or record player. We all sang along!

With lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and sung by Ella Fitzgerald (that’s Ella in the photo above), the song “Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive” became popular in the mid-1940s, with its very (yes) positive message of how we should focus our lives.. on ...

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Did You Get Something That Looks Like a Medicare Card in the Mail?

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The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar.

But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real?  Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs?

Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason?

The answers are yes, yes, yes…. and for ...

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Black Box Warnings May Save Your Life

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This often comes as a major surprise for patients: that when a prescription drug is known to be effective, and is approved by the FDA for some patients, that doesn’t mean it’s effective and safe for all patients.

It’s true that some people may be allergic, or the drug might have been prescribed to treat the wrong diagnosis, or the patient may not take the drug properly and over (or under) dose….

…But those situations are not what I’m addressing in this ...

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OK, But What’s the Question?

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In my previous life as a speaker and writer on patient empowerment issues, I received email, even postal mail (meaning, yes, someone paid for a stamp!) from patients who were being challenged in some way by the healthcare system. Sometimes I would hear from 8 or 10 people in a week, 25, 30 or more a month.

Their stories were often sickening and terrifying. At the least they were frustrating to read (even more so to live through, I’m sure) and ...

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Those Elusive Test Results

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I’m not sure how it happened, but over the years, my medical appointments and tests all seem to have ended up as summer scheduled dates. 

You know – all those annual or periodic things:  bloodwork, mammogram, bone density, dentist, optometrist…. I also check in with the dermatologist once a year (because I was that fair-skinned, freckled kid who, as a teenager, slathered on the baby oil at the pool – remember those days?)  And this year was, oh joy of joys ...

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When Your Doctor Goes Missing and Other Medical Conundrums: How to Take Command

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Summer vacation this year was comprised of two weeks on a road trip with my husband as we left our (new) home in Florida, drove north to Upstate New York, then home again, visiting family and friends along the way. It was one of those vacations that you thoroughly enjoy, but then, can’t wait to be home again!

This year I had an extra reason to want to be home. About halfway into the trip, my knee began to hurt, then ...

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