Eye Contact

 

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EYE CONTACT

The best way to leave a lasting impression is to make eye contact. “Secrets to Making Non-Awkward Eye Contact” The Muse – Tools & Skills – 2018 Lily Zhang – Career Development Specialist at MIT.  Obviously, this is something we all understand but it’s  satisfying to know that the professionals who work in the field also verify our hunches. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus (2007) defines the EYE as an organ of sight, a faculty of discrimination; something having an undeveloped bud or the calm at the center of a cyclone.  The definition of CONTACT from this same source is listed as the touching or meeting of bodies where a connection or relationship or communication is formed. Eye contact is important in our everyday life.  Dale Carnegie, the world renowned speaker and inspirational guide, suggests that you make eye contact with someone long enough to register what eye color they have before looking away.  Somehow this seems instinctual; we do it without thinking about it.  Katherine Schreiber and Heather Hausenblas, Ph.,D (Co-authors of The Truth About Exercise Addition) relate in their article posted 9/20/2016 and verified by Psychology Today “What Eye Contact Can Do to You,” that newborns pay more attention to faces with eyes gazing directly at them than to faces with eyes looking off in the distance.  Even babies have the inborn desire to scan a human face looking for information.  There is also an indication that eye contact is crucial for successful early childhood/parent bonding.  This type of eye contact engagement may enhance memory for the child’s decision making process.

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Eyes of Babies

Eye contact can have a memory-boosting effect as long as it’s wanted by the person being looked at.  So, make eye contact work to your advantage.  Sean Cooper (The Shyness & Social Anxiety Guy) viewed 7/15/2018 “How To Make Eye Contact Without Feeling Awkward,”  indicates that there is a socially acceptable time frame for maintaining eye contact before the technique becomes staring or inappropriate.  So, how long is too long?  Sean gives us a guideline for eye contact:

  •  eye contact with talking – 1/3 of the time
  • eye contact with listening – 2/3 of the time
  • eye contact with everyday conversation – spurts of 3-4 seconds during the verbal exchange

Since most human contact tends to be non-verbal (a study at UCLA indicated that 93% of communication is not verbal), that means we talk with a combination of body language and eye contact.  Wow, what a great opportunity to let another human being know how you’re feeling and what your opinions are about life.  Your eyes are your “scouts.”  They scan the horizon much like the advance scouts did in the days of the ole’ west when the military was traveling on maneuvers in the hot desert.   Processing of the information is the same: gathering, assessing and decision making.  It’s just as vital today to make the correct decision with the incoming information that you receive from eye contact.  Everyday we all make connection through eye contact so you may want to pay attention to the cues coming from the person you’re looking at: it’s a good idea.

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Intelligent Medicine

“Doctors who partner with (AI) artificial intelligence as a decision-making aid will see their healing powers expand more than they have in the past 100 years” (Men’s Health, p. 42, May 2018).

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Intelligent Medicine

Mr. Greg Corrado, Ph.D. was making a TedMed presentation about artificial intelligence this past year when he stunned his audience of medical professionals.  Well, Dr. Corrado should know the field well since he is a principal scientist at Google AI and an expert in machine learning.  He went on to explain that to tackle the storm of intense medical data available for medical evaluators today a practitioner needs to condense the “data beast” so that appropriate information can be funneled into focused patient care.

The future is coming.  The future is down the road.  The future is here.  Microsoft, Apple, IBM and many other tech-savvy corporations are creating algorithms for medical facilities.  An algorithm is a structured formula for solving a problem. So, when a doctor, hospital, medical records department, medication ordering program or medical supply procurement agency needs to determine the best solution for diagnosing a problem they turn to a robotic algorithm system to capture the solution.

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Personal Medicine

Personal medicine has become more personal.  Your medical treatment can be decided by a complex set of numbers calculated by a fined-tuned robot analyzing specific personal data about your past, current and future health.  Your medical provider even knows the odds of whether you will keep your next appointment.  Rachel Sturtz (Men’s Health, May 2018) relates a variety of “assistive” robots working to keep us healthy.

  • Sensely – this avatar checks symptoms and pulls data for your doctor to review
  • Woebot – this “chatbot” created by Alison Darcy, Ph.D., monitors your mood
  • AiCure – recognizes your face, verifies medication and checks for administration
  • SemanticScholar – a search-based engine for relevant medical information
  • ARTAS Robotic – transplants hair faster than a human
  • HeartFlow – diagnosing heart disease with 3D map of the heart
  • Butterfly iQ – a pocket-sized ultrasound scanner with unlimited possibilities
  • Watson for Oncology – a plethora of resources for cancer treatment plans
  • Lumo Run (Lumo Lift) – personal biomechanic feedback
  • PatientsLikeMe – a FREE patient network to gain insight from people with similar medical conditions
  • ColgateConnect E1 – toothbrush using 3D technology for healthier teeth
  • Noom – custom nutrition/exercise courses – CDC-RECOGNIZED FOR THE PREVENTION OF DIABETES
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Intelligent Health

Cloud-based, yes, cloud-based technology is being used to view, monitor, assess, analyze, scan, interpret, review, research, plan, learn, devise and track almost every aspect of your medical life.  This detailed analysis is reducing unnecessary, invasive medical procedures, eliminating or reducing health care costs, increasing medical diagnosis accuracy, decrease pharmaceutical waste, increasing the proficiency of medical product tracking, assisting medical providers in assembling a library of current and timely medical information, and most importantly, improving the quality of health care for all of us.

As in all things tech, it’s important not to become entangled in the business part of healthcare.  The use of technology must be tempered with the personal care of medicine.  Development of an effective care plan still balances between the medical provider and the patient; with a fair exchange of information.  Hopefully, humans still talk to humans.  This personal conversation isn’t a debate or gabfest, it’s an informed exchange between concerned people trying to intelligently discuss sometimes difficult health-related questions.  AI (artificial intelligence) is used to assist this exchange and achieve the best healthcare decision.

Rachel Sturtz (Men’s Health, May 2018) states, “artificial intelligence is medicine’s future.”  I would reframe that statement and say that intelligent assistance for personal healthcare is the future.

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The DocBot will see you now

 

Social Health

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Social Health

Like Social Security, Social Health affects everyone in some way.  According to Michael Jones, PhD, RN, MSN, MBA, “social health is expressed when each individual is able to put into practice the information he or she has been provided by their healthcare provider.”  This idea is burdened when 9 out of 10 of us struggle with understanding our health information, (The Mississippi RN – Summer 2018).

Within this context, the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) definition of social determinates of health is, “economic and social conditions that influence the health of people and communities. ” It further states that “these resources are shaped by the amount of money, power, and resources that people have,  all of which are influenced by policy choices.”

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Healthy People

“The context in which people live their lives, the resources available to them, and in particular their social and economic circumstances, are the primary determinates of population health outcomes.” This idea is presented by Professor Alan Davidson in his book entitled, Social Determinates of Health – A Comparative Approach. (2014)

So, how do we as a community get the best outcomes for our health resources?  Well, the WHO (World Health Organization) has developed a list of considerations – Social Gradients, Stress, Early Life, Social Exclusion, Work Life, Unemployment, Social Support Addition, Food, Transport.  Examining these 10 components will give you an in-depth picture of your – or anyone’s – standing within the social health spectrum.

  •  the further down you are on the social gradient, the more disease prevalence
  • stress can lead to distress which can lead to physical health issues
  • it is vital that you receive quality health care in the first two years of your life
  • discrimination impacts your physical health
  • accumulated workplace stress can increase your disease development potential
  • uncertain job security influences your physical health
  • strong social support often equals positive health outcomes
  • addictions as a coping mechanism have negative effects
  • healthy food is essential for good health
  • inadequate access to transportation equals poor health outcomes
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Social Access?

According to AAA (American Automobile Association), this July 4th weekend, in the United States 46.9 million Americans will travel over 50 miles from their home to celebrate the holiday.  They will use either a car, boat, ship or bus.  The National Retail Federation states that 106 million Americans will attend a community celebration.  A CBS News Poll (7-2018) determines that 53% of Americans believe that the “American Dream” is still attainable.

Consider the question,  “Does everyone in my social community have equal access to resources?”  You may well come up with a variety of answers.  According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, “resource is the ability to meet and handle situations. ”  Obviously, the WHO considers Social Health from a “total person” point of view.  Living in a community that values education, social policy concerned with individual diversity, public transportation needs, early childhood health and stable employment is an environment that has considered the CDC, WHO, Dr. Michael Jones and Professor Alan Davidson issues.

You may want to consider the Social Health of your community.

 

Excite Your Brain

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Brainiacs

Our human brains are a centralized mass of nerve tissue and supporting structures used as the center for thoughts and nervous system control. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2007).  It is an incredible piece of living machinery.  According to an article in WebMD (June 2018), our brains can store more information than the Library of Congress and process it faster than a computer.  Believe this truth – the better you treat your brain, the harder it will work for you.

So, how do you pamper your brain and ensure that it stays nimble and ready for duty?  Well, you give your brain a treat;  you excite your brain.  Giving your brain a variety of activities to perform is similar to using your body to perform challenging and new activities.  Challenging your brain helps existing neurons to form new connections.

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Excite Your Brain

 Since you are getting ready to stimulate and exercise your brain, you need to nourish your brain. Glucose is one of the body’s main energy sources.  When this energy is in short supply the brain grabs it before our muscles.  Our brains use this energy source to power impulse control between our neurons.  According to Stephanie Watson (Living, WebMD, June 2018), our brains are selfish and always snatch the energy it needs to function at a peak performance level.  Obviously, our brain does all it can to prime itself to be ready for incoming stimulus from us.

So, let’s give it a variety of activities to perform.  Learning is always at the top of the list.  This includes reading, writing, listening to lectures, playing an instrument or trying to learn a new dance step.  The brain is instantly alerted that new information is coming and needs to be processed.  The ‘primed’ brain is ready for instruction.

Let’s mix up the activity a bit.  Add in some mental playing such as sudoku, crossword puzzles, chess, Scrabble or some problem-solving question.  Exploring an unknown physical surrounding also promotes intellectual growth.  Walk on a different route during your exercise routine,  drive down an unfamiliar street when you go to work, invite yourself to explore different directions when going to the grocery store.  Your brain is excited, working and making new connections just as your body would be making new muscle tissue if you were physically exercising.

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Primed and Ready

Your brain can hold 1 petabyte of memory.  That’s about the same capacity as 4.7 billion books or 230,000 DVD’s.  This is supported by 86 billion nerve cells in the brain.  All of this activity travels from one nerve cell to another at 268 mph, which is faster than the speed of a racecar. (Upfront, WebMD, June 2018)

Even though you may be tempted to slip into the multi-tasking mode to ensure that your brain is always excited, you may want to wait before taking that road.  Just as your body needs rest after an intense workout, so does your brain.  Ensuring that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night gives your brain time to repair.  Intensely focusing on one task at a time will make you much more productive and efficient.  Practicing mindfulness, where you can focus your attention on the present moment, allows your mind to rest, destress, and recharge.  (American Nurse, Today – May, 2018 V.13, 5)

The brain uses 20% of your bodies calories for all of its’ amazing functions.  Imagine what you can do with an Excited Brain…

Lifestyle = Cancer ?

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 Can your lifestyle influence your cancer risk?

A recent report issued from DW – a News and Current Affairs source from Germany, indicates that there is truth in the statement that your lifestyle can influence your cancer risk.  The number of cancers related to lifestyles has multiplied in the past 10 years.  The Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration states that lung cancer leads the way in this trend.  Bowel cancer brings up a close second with 1.7 million being diagnosed in 2016.  There is also an abundance of medical research to indicate that skin cancer can be reduced by our exposure to ultraviolet light.  Although this form of cancer is also influenced by genetics – skin tone, we can adjust our daily lifestyle to decrease our vulnerability to this type of cancer.  Unfortunately, there is medical and physical evidence of lung cancer’s link to tobacco use.  This link has a long and torrid history. Even exposure to “vaping”, which is vaporized nicotine, may cause an increased susceptibility to developing lung cancer.

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 STRESS

People who experience an increased level of psychological demands in their high-stress jobs show a higher evidence of developing atrial fibrillation according to the DW report on lifestyle-related cancers.  Atrial fibrillation often leads to a common dysfunctional heart rhythm pattern.  If a person experiences this pattern they will notice shortness of breath, fatigue, general weakness, dizziness, and palpitations.  Attention to yourself if you notice these symptoms is a high priority as these issues generally cause 30% of all strokes.

Most of us have a towel in our kitchen.  We use this towel whenever we’re in the kitchen.  This means that the towel is sometimes wet and sometimes dry.  Since our kitchens can harbor millions of bacteria, these microorganisms can be transferred onto the kitchen towel.  These little bugs generally like nice warm places – like our kitchen towel.  So, when you dry your wet hands using this kitchen towel, you may actually be transferring millions of bacteria from one object to another.  This process multiples when there are more people living in a household.  So, even if you adhere to the age ole’ rule of great hand washing, you may actually be canceling out your efforts when you dry your clean hands using a “dirty” kitchen towel.  That innocent kitchen towel may be a culprit of disease.

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 Kitchen protocol

We all know that we eat junk food; sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much. What we eat influences our health.  A study at the University of Virginia indicates that eating an egg a day improves blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in overweight and obese people.  A similar study focusing on nutrition from Tufts University, Massachusetts suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of pecans on a daily basis can aid in reducing your risk of cardiometabolic disease.  Similarly, a Rusk University, Chicago study reveals that eating green, leafy vegetables and berries may decrease your risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s.  Consuming complex carbohydrates found in mushrooms can fight inflammation is indicated by scientists at the University of Massachusetts.

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 Food

So, what can you do to decrease your risk of cancer?  Quit smoking, eat healthily, protect yourself from the sun, exercise regularly, exchange your kitchen towel often; consider using paper towels and look after yourself if you’re in a stressful, demanding job.  Even if you have a propensity for cancer, you may decrease your risk.

Plasticity

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Plastic is a substance capable of being molded. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus-2012) This definition as it refers to our human brains includes the consistent reprocessing and re-pattering of events when one’s brain can create new neural pathways and thereby follow new responses to old triggers (The Guardian – July23, 2015).

When our brains change, our abilities change.  Dr. Micheal Merzenich and Dr. Norman Doidge of Brain HQ, condenses this information into a simple statement – “the brain can change itself.”  Through their research, both doctors have determined that the gray matter in our brains can shrink or thicken; neural connections can be forged, refined weakened and severed.

CNN.com (May 5,2011) reported this amazing issues when they related the story of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She had been shot in the head by a bullet during a political campaign.  She made remarkable progress by forming new brain cells called neurons.  The feat was accomplished by repeated rehabilitation to relearn basic tasks.  A traumatic brain injury patient may be able to form new brain connections that allow him or her to talk and walk again.

Although part of the brain may be damaged, functions of the missing parts are taken over by reconnection pathways to other, healthy functioning neuros.  This forms new circuits to resume the lost function.  Albeit, this process may be slow, it is possible to regain the original ability.

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Research also shows that the opposite of plasticity is true.  If an available brain function isn’t used, it may shrivel and disappear.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent relates that when it comes to basic functions it truly is a “use it or lose it” idea.  That’s why rehabilitation to relearn how to walk and speak is so important.  Dr. Gupta says, “the more you improve in the early time period, the more you’ll improve in the long run.”  Since our brain is plastic, we should make it our best friend and nudge our neurons into functioning circuits that help improve us every day.

Mothering

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Everyone at some time has or had a mother.

Anna Jarvis of West Virginia (History.com5.2018) in 1868 developed the Mother’s Friendship Day.  This group of mothers organized to work with soldiers, both union and confederate, to help bring about reconciliation after the civil war. In 1908, Anna Jarvis’s daughter, Anna Reeves Jarvis initiated a letter-writing campaign to have Mother’s Day become an official holiday.  In 1910 West Virginia became the first state to recognize the holiday.  By 1914 Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday.

However, the idea of recognizing mothers is not a new idea.  Celebrating the bond between mothers and children can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans.  These cultures devised pagan celebrations to honor the goddesses Rhea and Cybele.  The most popular Christian festival for more modern times is known as “Mothering Sunday.”  This tradition was held in the UK and Europe on the 4th Sunday in Lent and was a time for the faithful to return to their “mother church” – the main church in the vicinity of their home.

Over time this tradition changed to a more secular holiday where children presented flowers and other tokens to their own mothers to express their love and appreciation.  This custom around the 1930’s and 1940’s morphed into the U.S. commercial celebration of American Mother’s Day.

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Even though Anna Reeves Jarvis initiated a campaign to recognize Mother’s Day, she denounced the commercialism of the day and spent the latter part of her life trying to rid the celebration of its’ commercial aspect.  She intended the day to be an intimate affair between mother and child where children would spend time composing a personal letter expressing their heartfelt feeling for her dedication and nurturing.  As we can see,  commercialism may have won the day.

Whether your mother lives next door, many miles away or no longer inhabits this earth take a few minutes to reflect on what your life would be like without a mother.  When you’re finished give your mom a call and wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day.”  A personal phone call or a heartfelt, handwritten note is far more appreciated than a commercially purchased, computer printed card.

Joyce K. (Gatschenberger) Walters M.S., C.D., B.S.N., R.N.                                                              Linesoflisteningblog.wordpress.com                                                                                                  linesoflistening.com

 

 

Healthy Generations

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Located inside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the Office of Women’s Health (OWH).  This agency recommends that everyone check out the Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) to examine the Family Health Portrait.  This program was established in 2016 and is successful in developing individual, web-based programs for generational families who want to track and predict their health risk and assist them in making screening and treatment decisions about their health and the future conditions of their yet-unborn family members.

This type of tracking can be especially useful since medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and certain auto-immune illnesses often run in families.  This type of medical tracking can help to focus attention on a family’s health in much the same manner that DNA testing and a genetic genealogy map can reveal a person’s genealogical journey.

However, as we all know, there are always risks in any venture such as this.  Many people don’t want to place any personal information into a web-based program.  There are certainly security concerns to this argument.  I’m one of those advocates and am cautious about sharing my personal information in any format in which I am not fully comfortable.

The basic idea though is sound.  However, you may determine that verbally sharing with family members is more effective and personal.  It may be prudent to consider this option before it is needed.  By that, I mean before a family member is diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening disease and you have to “backtrack” to determine if anyone else in the family has ever been diagnosed with a similar condition.  Knowing your family’s risk factors for any illness can be both confusing and comforting.

You may not want to know your chances of developing cancer or heart disease.  You may choose to live a healthy lifestyle and accept whatever comes into your life.  However, if one of your children is diagnosed with systemic lupus or juvenile arthritis, it may be helpful to know if any of your older relatives were diagnosed with the same medical condition at an early age. Your medical provider will probably ask you that exact question when your child receives their diagnosis.  Tracking your family’s medical tree will give you the answer at a glance.

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I’m sure that many families have had similar discussions about health history tracking.  The conversation goes something like this: “Didn’t Aunt Sally have diabetes? Or was it Uncle Joe?  I know that mom said one of her siblings had something wrong with the sugar in their blood.  Somebody was always doing the “finger sticking” thing.”  Anxious family members sit in the hospital waiting room shaking their heads and waiting for word from the ER doctor about grandpa after he was admitted for “high blood sugar.”  If someone in the family had taken the initiative to complete a health history tracking then everyone would know the answer about Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe.

Now, I will say this: there is always someone in the family who ain’t sharin’ nothin’ about themselves to nobody for any reason – good or bad.   They don’t care if it’s for their long-lost aunt or their favorite cousin – they ain’t sharin’.  Well, that’s easy to fix.  The health history diagram slot for that particular family member can be completed and the space can be left black and possibly be filled in later.  Maybe the “non-sharer” will offer information once he or she takes a look at the completed chart.

The great thing about making a health history diagram is that everyone in the family has an opportunity to talk to each other.  Normally, this might not happen as often as you would like but this gives everyone a “generic” opportunity. The tracking of the past and current health status of family members is good for not only themselves but the next generation as well.  This is something that you can do now to help ensure that healthy generations are in your future.

 

Hospital Survival

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Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!

A recent article by Michelle Crouch (Reader’s Digest – May ’18) indicates that over 440,000 American die every year from medical errors and infections contracted in area hospitals.  So, how do we as patients head off this statistic?  Take charge of your care: ask questions, take notes and have someone be a health advocate on your behalf. As Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., former senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore states: you are part of the healthcare team, it’s your body, you know yourself better than anyone else.

We can’t always determine which hospital we are taken to in an emergency, but we can investigate the hospitals in the area in which we live.  Get to know the “medical standing” of each facility that you see in your neighborhood.  Is it a good hospital?  Does it have an emergency department?  What type of care does the hospital provide? These are simple questions but you will be surprised what the answers provide.  They will give you a good indication of the quality of healthcare.

When you receive a medical diagnosis you can always ask, “is there anything else it might be?” This opens the discussion between you and the healthcare provider.  If you are unsure, you can always get a second opinion.  If you are in the hospital when this diagnosis occurs, you can also request a “medical huddle.”  This gives the medical team the opportunity to meet with you in one place and discuss your care.

Test results are often confusing to the layperson.  CT’s, lab work, MRI’s, XRAY’s, biopsies, skin scrapings, cultures, enzyme activity, therapeutic levels are all medical evaluations that usually require an informed medical follow-up with both the provider and patient to correctly determine the results. Meeting with your medical provider gives you the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about your medical condition and any needed follow-up care.

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Superbugs!  Today, this is a real and constant source of infection.  The CDC no longer recommends antibiotics after an operation if you don’t have signs of infection.  Antibiotics can kill the protective bacteria in your gut which gives way for the invasion of Clostridium Difficile (C. diff.), one of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections, according to Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

A hospital room, or a busy clinic area, often aren’t cleaned properly.  It’s not that the personnel aren’t competent or that the infections guidelines are inadequate, it’s due to tight-routines and short-staffing.  This may also extend to medical items as well: catheters, IV’s, tubing, blood collection equipment, countertops, bed rails, floors, bathrooms.  You may want to carry some sanitizing wipes for your personal care. This is also a good time to mention: WASH YOUR HANDS, and do it often and whenever necessary.

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Personal lifestyle activities are very important in maintaining health.  Brushing your teeth can aid in keeping you healthy.  Bacteria harboring in your mouth and between your teeth may travel to your lungs causing a nasty case of pneumonia.  Needless to say, never use someone else’s toothbrush.  If you experience diarrhea it could be the first sign of an infection.  Good personal grooming is vitally important for maintaining good health and avoiding potential health problems to others.  Again, WASH YOUR HANDS.

I mention WASHING YOUR HANDS often in this review because it is a simple function that anyone can perform.  It’s your best weapon against infection and it prevents the spread of potential bacterial infection to other people and environmental surfaces.  A good hand washing routine includes: soap and water, working-up a good lather, rinsing, drying, and discarding the wet cloth.  Remember to wash your hands before you eat and after using the bathroom.

There are some common objects in a medical care facility that usually accumulate bacteria and virus “bugs.”  Unfortunately, they are objects that we use every day: TV remotes, elevator buttons, stethoscopes, BP cuffs, telephones, bed rails, IV poles, chairs, flat surfaces, toilet handles, wheelchairs, faucet handles.  Even though we want to be friendly with our neighbor, not everyone remembers to wash their hands or uses good grooming practices.  So, when you shake hands with someone and they are suffering from an obvious cold or infection use extra good cleaning practices.

After we have done all that can be done to keep ourselves healthy, it’s important to stay that way.  Some hints include: eat balanced meals, exercise on a regular basis, form a medical team with your providers, adopt healthy lifestyle habits,  be a health advocate when you’re a hospital patient, and yes I’m going to say it again: WASH YOUR HANDS!

 

Selling Our Attention

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I heard this phrase the other day – “selling our attention.”  Initially, I dismissed it as just another generic part of a conversation. Then I realized that the term was being repeated in my mind.  One of those annoying things that unconsciously repeat and repeat in your brain for no apparent reason.  Well, since I’m a medical person and tend to look at most issues from a health point of view,  I decided to follow the workings of my brain and think about this phrase.

I was drawn to memories of my days in medical rotations and health internships.  When a patient came to an emergency area for care the first question asked was: “What is your medical issue?” The attention of both the patient and medical staff was on the medical need – restore the health of this person.  The issue of payment or insurance coverage wasn’t addressed until care had been given and the patient was recovered. Patient follow-up to a medical clinic or doctor office was scheduled for ample time so that specific care could be provided and only then would the patient be sent a bill.  Possibly, the post-op care was included with the initial visit and no charge was billed for the follow-up care. The attention was on providing quality care for the patient. Today, I spend a large amount of money to maintain medical insurance as a fortification against financial ruin in lieu of a medical emergency.  I am indeed selling my attention to the medical insurance company so that they can certify me eligible to obtain care in a medical facility.

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My brain again repeats the phrase: “selling our attention.”  I’m reminded of the amount of money I spend each day on maintaining my computer function, television operation, telephone maintenance, and other electrical and technical appliances in my daily life.  Some of us even spend money to listen to certain types of radio programs.  All of this wave-based information providing technology consumes our attention and we pay for it.  I remember the day when people watched their television for free.  Once someone bought their television set, they plugged the set into the electrical outlet and simply chose which channel to watch.  Didn’t have to pay for the service or endure painful commercials.  Today we pay to not only watch certain “bundled” television channels but we also pay to watch questionable TV based commercials.

The phrase “selling our attention” will probably be repeating in my brain for awhile.  It’s interesting how a small saying can get such big attention – like a focused feline.  All I know is, I’m now more aware of how and where I focus and sell my attention.