Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quiet Time


Not blogging much recently. I have started a new job with a vaguely familiar EMR that is known for being less than user friendly. RPMS is unwieldy, but anything is better than NextGen, although nothing is as wonderful as EPIC. I am adjust to being home and still not completely unpacked and settled.  My life is really so full of events, but no time to get them all down here. Soon…

Chronic Pain


I don’t know why I am so immersed in this subject right now. It is just the way that my brain works. I am reading every book that I can find right now. I just can’t get enough knowledge about chronic pain syndromes.

When I go through these periods of fascination, I am hyper focused. I read books, listen to audiobooks, tear pages out of journals, search the net and pod casts for information. I am following a few blogs of folks with chronic illness.

The hardcovers just arrived to compliment my Kindle and Audible copies of  Nation in Pain, The Emperor’s New Drugs and Being Mortal. I am still wading through How to Manage Pain Before It Manages You.

We had a discussion today about Arthur Boorman from the “Never, Ever Give Up” video.  In my opinion the video should be playing on endless loop in every medical office in the United States.  None of us really understands how to help people find the sort of motivation and courage that Arthur shows.  We all agree that “ganas” is the most important thing. Without it, nothing improves.

What motivates you? What inspires you? How do you motivate or inspire others?

Not Work Related


Garden maze

Sometimes, I completely forget that my life isn’t just about work.  One of the many joyful things in my life is my 1950’s ranch house that sits on about 1.5 acres or so.  For reasons, I no longer remember, I decided last year that I would copy this lovely maze that is probably much better suited for the English garden where the original grows.  I know NOTHING about geometry and I cannot ever make anyone understand the depths I will go to avoid math.  Still, I thought, how hard can this be? I couldn’t make the maze print onto graph paper no matter how I tried, so I made it the size I wanted on my computer screen and traced it onto graph paper right from my computer screen.

This should have been a clear sign that I should just go to Bridge’s End, in England and enjoy it there. But, nooooooo.  This will be fun I thought. After all, anyone can make a raised bed garden right? Why not make it ridiculously difficult? So, I have started over many times. Moved the boards around more times than I can count. Finally, I understood that I should use a ruler to measure sections on the graph paper before just “eyeing” it and trying to make it fit. I learned that a 45 degree angle on the paper is still a 45 degree angle on the ground. I learned that one should take into account the thickness of the boards when measuring.

I have learned that other folks will sometimes volunteer to help me.  I think it is such a weird thing to do they just want to keep an eye on me as they wait for me to show further signs of mental instability. I know that we will usually end up arguing over the proper angle or length of boards.  As many times, as I have started over, and argued with whomever is helping me over where we should put the next board, it is still fun.

Today, after a year of working on this thing off and on when I am home, I finally figured out where I keep screwing up and began the long process of moving things about again. I used a ruler and a I think it is called a protractor to draw it out on graph paper after I realized that I cannot make it fit exactly like the one in England.  But I took a very long time to make the proper adjustments on the graph paper to keep true to the maze.

I feel happy about the whole project and hope to complete the upper half this year. Raised beds from recycled 2×6 redwood fence. This is fun. This is fun. This is fun.

At the same time, I am working on making a chicken coop, getting the above groung pool ready for summer, planting and starting seeds, pulling weeds and countless other projects all at the same time.  Life is just so full of event right now. Not all of them are work related.

Anatomy of an Epidemic

Anatomy of an Epidemic

One would think that mental illness would be declining with the advent of pharmacological treatment. After all we have so many psych medications that I can’t keep up with all the names anymore.  We have access to support groups, private therapy, self help books, social workers and psychiatrists. Let’s not leave out the millions of prescriptions written by primary care providers for depression, anxiety and PTSD.  Yet, over the past 50 years of this psychopharmacological revolution the number of mentally ill that are deemed permanently disabled has skyrocketed.

The author, Mr Whitaker, is an investigative journalist who questions the claims that there is a chemical imbalance in the brains of people with bipolar, schizophrenia and depression.  He brings to light studies that show that today’s patients who are diagnosed with some mental illness and treated with medications to correct these so-called imbalances are more likely to become chronically mentally ill than to recover.  The Investigative Journalists and Editors Association awarded Robert Whitaker the 2010 book award for best investigative journalism.

This book, along with several others I will recommend in future posts, changed the way that I practice. I know that there are much better ways to help people who are diagnosed with mental illness.  I learned  that there are many cultures that have a much healthier approach to mental illness than we do in the United States and the United Kingdom.  I listened to the audio version of this book during my long commutes but I have now ordered the print version to as a reference.

Does organic food cause autism? Could Nicolas Cage movies make you more likely to drown? Six ways to misuse statistics


Very well said.

Puff the Mutant Dragon

Back in the 1940s before the polio vaccine was invented, the disease caused a lot of anxiety among parents of small children. How could you reduce your child’s risk of contracting this nasty illness? Some misguided public health experts apparently recommended avoiding ice cream, thanks to a study that showed a correlation between ice cream consumption and polio outbreaks. This study fortunately was BS. Yes, there was a correlation between ice cream consumption and polio outbreaks, but that was because both were common in the summer months. The authors of the study had mistaken correlation (ice cream consumption and polio are more common at the same time) with causation (ice cream increases your risk of disease).

Medical researchers often trawl through data sets to try and figure out what environmental factors cause chronic disease. Unfortunately, these kinds of studies sometimes make the same kinds of mistakes as the ice…

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John Oliver on Big Pharma


Adventures for the Chronically Ill

I have been the victim of over-medication before so I’m glad the system is (slowly) becoming more transparent.

It’s a complicated issue, but I think John Oliver does a pretty good job covering it.

As a somewhat amusing side note, take a look at the Advair sales meeting at the 3 minute mark. Does anyone else think it’s ironic that they are spewing so much smoke into the air at an event to promote a drug for asthmatics?

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