Jason Voorhees

That guy was scary. Almost everyone that is currently in their 40s had a nightmare after watching Friday the 13th. You would run from Jason as fast as you can. Yet he would take his time walking through the woods and still catch his prey. It is amazing that any of us ever wanted to go to summer camp after watching any of these movies. What else made him scary? His mask. The goalie mask. I blame Jason for making masks scary.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. A chance to be creative. To change into another personality or character for at least one night. There are different ways to do Halloween. Using your own clothes to create a character. There is a grown man that I see in the world and every time I just remember him from the Halloween that he was Miley Cyrus. But often we wear masks. Scary masks. Hide under leaves and jump out to scare the trick or treaters with your ghoul mask and then will run for cover. Like Jason Voorhees is chasing them.
Facial expressions are also masks. Everyone has had a bad day at work yet put on the mask of happiness to help make it through the day. We can present ourselves in a certain way by wearing our own masks while exploring the world we live in. Some of us are better than others but we all have our own version of daily masks.

Now masks are everywhere. People are making cloth masks. Health care professionals are discussing the differences between surgical and N95 masks. Yet some people do not want to wear masks. I am not angry with them. I am trying to be understanding. Masks have been a sign of danger for years. But we are at a time in humanity that the meaning of masks has to change. They should start to feel reassuring. When I see someone wearing a mask I appreciate that they care about others. I wear my mask to protect you from myself. Make masks beautiful.

As a physician I have had friends/patients ask me if “I am scared of the coronavirus?” My answer – It is more frightening than Jason Voorhees.

Married to a Rapper

What is it like being married to a Rapper…

Well, let’s take it back to 2008 when we met. I was completely shocked when he told me he rapped (due to how shy and quiet he is). I just thought he was trying to look cool and score some extra points, but then he played me all his mixes and I was like WOW, he really is a rapper and extremely talented! I thought it was really cool driving around playing his mixes in my car like, yeah my boyfriend raps! My favorite was when he would make mention of me in them, but I mean that is obvious because I love when people talk about me!! But then he kinda took a break, he would do a few mixes here or there but he just put it on the back burner and lost the drive for it.

This is until Doc and the Deacon podcast was born and he was asked to be a part of it. He got his mojo back!!

Everyone who knows us as a couple knows that I’m the outgoing, loud one and he is very laid back and quiet. I think that is what makes our relationship work so well, we balance each other out. But there is a side to Franchise that not a lot of people get to witness due to how shy he is. But he really is a ton of fun! Honestly, I cannot even think of the words to describe how impressed I am that he can do what he does. You give him any topic and then all of a sudden the gears start turning and he just comes up with bars. Even if he has no idea about the subject, he always makes sure he does his research and gives 100%. Between hearing the beats and placing the words, it’s really impressive. The only downfall to it is, he is his own WORST critic. Myself and sooo many others will say that track is hot, it was so good and in his mind he’s like “I should of did this differently or did that.” It will take him listening to the final version more than a handful of times before he’s like “You know what. That is good.” That is the most frustrating part about being married to him when it comes to his music (I mean there is other non-Franchise things that frustrate me, but we will save that for another time.)

Overall, I would have to say it’s pretty cool to say I’m married to a rapper, we just need to break him out of his shy shell a little bit more. I think a ton of mango cart beers will help nicely with that.

Wifey of Franchise

Death of the Handshake

Physicians have been taught about the power of touch. Look a patient in the eye. Give them a strong handshake. Good patient care has shown that patients have a better experience when you sit down. They often report that a physician spent more time with the patient if the physician was seated and was close to the patient. Physicians were called healers before medical schools existed. The laying on of hands and healing has been known for thousands of years. Touch is one of the senses that is controlled by many different areas of the brain. For years I have checked every patient’s pulse myself to begin the process of laying on of hands.
The laying on of hands has been slowing going away. My mentor taught me every physical exam skill that existed. They all had names from the McMurray’s and Rovsing’s and no one will forget the Dix-Hallpike. But we have worried that these skills are diminished in younger physicians. Because of more lab tests and MRI’s and CT scans. As opposed to a thorough history and exam we just scan bellies at this time. We need to preserve these skills and the art of touch.
Or should we? The coronavirus is here, and our lives have been changed. We immediately have started doing telemedicine. We will see patients in the office by only if they are not sick. If you have a fever or cough instead of an exam trying to find a cause, we have transitioned to encouraging patients to hide in their basements. As an outpatient family physician, we are trying to treat the ill while staying healthy ourselves. Hospital based employees are out there everyday seeing sick patients while in PPE trying to get minimal touch/exposure to the patients they are seeing. It is hard to look at someone closely with a mask and goggles on.
The handshake is dead. A pandemic killed the handshake. Likely for the better. But hopefully the laying on of hands will return. It has been hard times, but I am excited for the day that I can hug a patient that is struggling. The handshake may be dead. But hugs will last forever.

The Doc Is In

Do as we say. Not as we do.

As a physician I spend a lot of time discussing sleep hygiene. Which is similar to our regular hygiene but somehow harder to pull off. Every morning I floss, brush, shower, deodorant and then coffee. I have the routine down to a science. But sleep hygiene has hard for patients to get consistent with. This is the idea of doing things in a routine to promote restful sleep. Go to bed around the same time. Put your Iphone away. Turn off the TV. Make sure you are in a cool dark room. Before getting married make sure your partner does not snore or will at least wear a CPAP.

Yet physicians often have the worst sleep hygiene. It starts in medical school and then gets worse in residency. We have to be at surgical rotations at 5 AM. And I worked 30 hour shifts as a resident physician. After a 30 hours shift you were then expected to sit through a lunch time lecture. Here we are preaching sleep hygiene but treating ourselves like machines that do not need sleep.

I work in a practice with 4 physicians. Which means I am on call 25 percent of my life. I tell patients to put their phone away and hide it across the room. Yet I turn my ringer up so that I wake up in case of an emergency. Doctors do shift work. I have heard of emergency room doctors making separate walled in rooms with special walls to reduce noise so that one can get good sleep during the day.

It is time for self care. The CDC recommends that all adults try and get 7 hours of sleep. We need to make changes. I am going to turn off my computer earlier and make sure I get to sleep at a good time. Luckily hours have been changed for residents trying to get them more sleep. Physicians overall are known for pushing themselves but we need to realize that a well rested physician is a better physician. Sleep deprivation can affect our focus, mood and productivity.

We need to realize that there is only so much we can do in one day. But sleeping 7 hours should be one of our first priorities. I am done now. Going to take a nap.

The Doc is In

Debates

Debate Club

I was not in the debate club during high school but I have learned the art of the debate. And no, I am not running for office. I enjoy a good discussion but it is difficult to debate issues that are not debatable.

During my day my main goal is to be a good listener. Process symptoms and develop an evidenced based plan. But at times I debate. I explain why a Zpack is not needed for a viral upper respiratory infection. I discuss the issues behind opiates for back pain.

Patients at times want extra tests and imaging that is not needed. I try to explain the evidence and risk/benefits behind tests but they do not always care. No, I do not need to check your for systemic Candida or your thirteenth Lyme test. Yes I realize that you are tired and are having trouble losing weight but there may not be some rare hormonal imbalance that we have missed.

I try to remain evidenced based. I listen and process all the information. Then I present my assessment and plan. Then, at times, the debate begins.
But in one respect I have given up. Debating the flu shot. No it will not give you the flu. Yes, a coworker of yours may have gotten the flu shot and then died a year later. But is was not from the flu. But at the end of the visit when I ask if you want the flu shot I do not have the time in my day to debate. Not the flu shot. There is no debate. The flu shot helps save lives. I have had almost one patient per year die of the flu.

What I need is more time. I want to debate . Not politics but why everyone over 6 months should get the flu shot. In medicine we have so many things to discuss and document it has limited our time to debate.

Differences with my wife and the Flu shot. Two things that I will not debate. Get your flu shot.

The Doc is In

Juicing

The medical world always has a new answers to old questions. We are given recommendations to get a certain amount of fruits and vegetables daily to stay healthy. But it is hard to get them in. That is until we decided that we could just shove them all in a JUICER.

Is juicing healthy? We know that drinking too much fruit juice is not healthy for you. Fruit juice is packed with simple sugars. They refer to athletes that are taking steroids as being juiced. Also probable not that good for you.

But juicing can be a healthy alternative. It is basically meal replacement. We can add a little kale, broccoli, strawberries and apples and there you go. You have a nutritious meal replacement. Diet companies have been selling “healthy” meal replacements forever. If you make the decision to replace breakfast and/or lunch it could very well be a good replacement. If you prepare yourself a juice for breakfast that is full of veggies than it is absolutely a better alternative to a breakfast sandwich or donut.

Can one live off of juicing alone? Maybe. But who wants to. We do not get all the fiber and nutrients when we grind down certain veggies into juice. Also too much fruit added can actually make a drink very high in sugar. I like to eat. Food has texture. Veggies have texture.

Being healthy with eating is all about routine. Use meal prep. Stay in a regimen. If you want to juice make it a part of your health conscious. Kale smoothies are delicious but allow the vegetables to be eaten in their normal state at times.

The Doc is In

Kid’s Parties

Let’s all admit it your kids birthday party is terrible. We have a bunch of kids run around Bounce U or some other similar type venue for an hour followed by crappy pizza. We go because we want little Johnny to make friends though. We wander around chatting hoping to find someone to chat with that will not make you feel like a bad parent. What they do not usually have is booze.

There are slides and trampolines and ball pits. Here is the bad news. They did a study in ball pits in a physical therapy practice. What did it find? A lot. It found 31 bacterial species and one species of yeast. Enough stuff to give you pink eye, UTI, upper respiratory infections and even bloodstream infections.

Yet if you invite. We will come. I will allow my kids to jump around the dirt, drool and feces that is lurking.

Not at my house. Not for our party. My kids get a pool party. And open bar. Kid’s parties are terrible. But they do not have to be.

Double Dipper

I am focused on not spreading germs. Most times. I wash my hands all day long. I give out vaccines. I cover my mouth when I cough. And I make out with my wife less when I have a cold sore. But I have a flaw. I am a double dipper. If you have blue cheese or BBQ sauce or veggie dip. I will double dip every time. I cannot control it. So if you see me coming hold your salsa.
The Doc is In

Laughter

If you want to live a healthy life you need to laugh. Laugh every day. Studies have shown that daily laughter may improve overall health. Laughter may stimulate your organs and increase your intake of oxygen. It helps modulate your endorphins and expel the negative energy. Laughter may increase your bodies production of your own endorphins. And it may even improve your immune system over time. Make sure you have funny friends. Or even a funny doctor. You could be lucky enough that your deacon makes you laugh. Watch more stand up or Seinfeld. You should also not smoke or eat at McDonald’s or do heroin. But do not forget that laughter is the best medicine. Unless you have a urinary tract infection. Then antibiotics are the best medicine.

The Doc is In

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