Saturday, August 18, 2012

Newborns. Newborns!

Yesterday, I examined a newborn baby girl. She was 2 days old. She was so tiny. And she kept her big, beautiful eyes open the whole time. (Perfect for seeing a good red reflex--thank you little girl for helping me feel competent). There's nothing like a newborn. Even in one month they are so much more grown up.

She was tiny. I was nervous that they could see I was nervous. But, I was also happy. So so happy. And nervous. But, they were awesome. Baby, Mom, and Grandma.

I was on one side of the table, mom on the other, and then Grandma got up and starting taking pictures as I examined her newest grandchild. I tried to look especially doctorly.

Newborns are a miracle.

Also, on a side note, Dr. Quinn (Medicine Woman) is awesome. Erin has all 6 seasons. And I'm obsessed. She makes me feel like I can do anything. Like harvest foxglove in a garden to make digitalis for heart problems.

Also, check this mom sent it to me yesterday. Note the "Crayola Oblongata: Relays impulses to shove objects inside nose and/or VCR)."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

That's what Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago.
Maybe it should be incorporated into the Hippocratic Oath??

Of course...everyone knows "it's important to eat healthy." Lately, I've been a little obsessed with nutrition after watching two documentaries about food, Forks Over Knives and Food Inc. My obsession is only fueled by seeing a near total lack of nutritional knowledge and/or concern in most of the patients I see each and every daily.

But, does society really know how to eat healthy? I'm becoming more and more convinced that we don't. I thought it was crazy to hear about infants and toddlers being fed coffee in Haiti. Welp, here in America we feed our kids pop from a bottle. (That's straight from Bay City, MI) How about a 3 year old girl who weighs 60 pounds (...that's 20lbs above the average weight for a 3 year old!) and is still being fed from a bottle at night before bed. It's made me question our approach to medicine. And if we need more dietitians than primary care docs.

With all the regulating and big business that goes on in the food industry, with all of the recommendations supplied by the USDA, and with our superior American lifestyles, I'm realizing, through daily encounters with patients, we are often just as far from health as the people in Haiti. Maybe because some people just don't know, but I think it's that most people really don't want to try. Or maybe just aren't willing to change. After all, I suppose it's human nature to want what is easy.

In Forks Over Knives, it highlights two doctors who shop with patients and show them how to cook. Maybe that's what it takes. Maybe I'll start making house calls as a doc someday. I think I might like that.

Dr. Esselstyn promotes a whole foods, plant based diet in Forks Over Knives. No meat, eggs, cheese, or milk. His reasons for doing so are medically motivated and based on published research in medical journals, but still, he said he knows in America this diet seems extreme. I love his response to those who think his diet is extreme (myself partially included). "A half a million people in this country this year, who will have to have their body divided, their heart exposed, then veins will be taken from their leg, and sewed onto their heart. Some people would call that extreme." Touche.

How do I get people to change their diet as a doctor? Especially when they claim they don't have any money, don't have any time, don't care (it's been said by more than one patient...), or especially when they are already totally dependent on their "cholesterol lowering, blood pressure controlling, insulin providing, depression treating, erectile creating, pain eliminating cocktail" they take every day with breakfast and dinner. How do I do it when I (the big talker at this current moment) have a hard time eating veggies over Oreos dipped in peanut butter dipped in milk sometimes? Habits are hard to change. Food rehab perhaps?

I think doctor's worst enemies in successful nutrition treatment for problems like heart disease and obesity are themselves. It's too easy to take a pill. And they're too easy to prescribe.
(And maybe fast food, too. It's too easy to pull into a drive through. Trust me..I know. But driving by the long lines at the drive thru are starting to make me cringe).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mr. Gas Man

Dear Mr. Sam's Club Gas Attendant,

You made my day. Thanks. I hope your sweet corn grows better than it ever has.

A Ford Focus owner drenched by the rain

When I switched lanes at the last minute and decided to get gas at Sam's Club I didn't know it would become the highlight of my day. It's not everyday I interact with a gas station attendant out roaming the pumps who starts up a casual conversation with a, "Did ya get the rain I sent?" I got soaked stepping out of my car. He then preceded to tell me how high his sweet corn was growing, how many pepper plants were blooming, and encouraged me to start a tomato garden in my house. "Why wait til next summer?" he said. He was an older gentleman, which while in my pediatric rotation, was a good reminder of why I'm not sure if I could give up working with people over the age of 65.

Also, he was an inspiration to me to never let life get dull. To go out and make it interesting. There are no excuses for being bored or stuck in a circumstance that is not seemingly ideal. I've never wanted to be a gas station attendant until tonight. But that man seriously made me want to be one. I think I'll always go there to get my gas. 100% worth it. I danced in my car the whole way home.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.

CS Lewis