What’s the Deal with the Fruit Scale?

Why the heck do we measure things in terms of fruit? My research on fibroids — starting with the info packet from the doctor — said that they can get as large as a grapefruit. Talking to friends revealed that many of them have experienced the fruit scale when talking about fibroids and other growths. After my ultrasound results came in, the doctor described one of my growths as a “long grapefruit” (to which a friend said I’d achieved a whole new level on the fruit scale). A quick web search found a really cute list that ran through a … Continue reading

Does Your Child Hate the Doctor’s Office?

I once got into trouble with my mom for falling asleep in the waiting room at the allergist’s office. In my defense, I had been at a sleepover the night before — and despite the clever name, had barely slept. The wait seemed endless, and I nodded over my waiting room magazine. Mom kept nudging me awake, telling me to pay attention, and letting me know how rude and disrespectful it was to snooze in the waiting room. As far as waiting room mischief goes, I still maintain that sleeping in my chair was not the worst crime possible. But … Continue reading

Questions to Ask About Surgery

If your doctor suggests surgery, you may feel a little overwhelmed, or a little scared. But surgery may not be your only option! Here are some things to consider, and some questions to ask. 1. Get a second opinion. Two different doctors may have two different opinions on how to treat your disease or injury. 2. Do some research. Don’t immediately say yes or no to whatever your doctor proposes. Get your diagnosis and find out more. You may decide that surgery is the best choice, or you may decide to pursue another course. Contact your insurance company to see … Continue reading

Feeling Better

I still have gratitude on my mind (’tis the season, after all!). And right now I’m thinking what a miracle it is to feel good. There are lots of times I don’t. I tend to get tension headaches, so if my day turns stressful (and it often does), I end up with a headache. Mostly, they’re minor, and easily ignored. Sometimes they need an over the counter pain remedy before they hit the road. It’s not a huge deal — but I am used to having some small level of pain in my head at any given time. The days … Continue reading

Do You Have a Living Will?

Many people don’t like to think about — or talk about — death. But it may be wise to think about the shape you’d like the end of your life to take now… before someone else has to make the decision for you. In the summer of 2001, my paternal grandmother passed away. It was somewhat unexpected — she had been living with Parkinson’s disease, but was largely stable. It was my paternal grandfather who had been very sick that same summer, and he was the one we were worried about. When Gramma died, we started making plans for her … Continue reading

My Life as a Lab Rat: Getting to the Maze

About a year ago, I mentioned my interest in clinical trials. There are a lot of good reasons to get involved — access to cutting edge treatments, potential to help a lot of people around the world. One challenge I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to get involved in a study. Since I made that post, I’ve applied to be in a variety of studies — including one to look at the effect of magnets on repetitive strain injuries to the wrist and another to study the dosages of birth control pills on overweight women. There are … Continue reading

The Dangers of Self-Medication

“He who self-medicates has a fool for a doctor.” Have you heard that one? There’s a real danger with home and over-the-counter remedies — do you know what they are? You may have misdiagnosed the problem. That may mean that you’re taking medication you don’t need… and the problem is still raging. You may have correctly diagnosed the problem but are taking the wrong things. Again, this is a situation where the problem might be getting worse instead of better. You may have correctly diagnosed the problem but over-the-counter remedies aren’t strong enough. At best, the problem may be holding … Continue reading

We’ll Tell You if We Cover That Later

A member of my family has been having a terrible time with his sinuses… to the point where his doctor has suggested surgery. As it happens, I had a similar surgery when I was nineteen to cut away infected sinus tissue and correct a deviated septum. (What a thing to have run in the family!) After he inquired to his insurance company about the surgery, he got this reply (I’m paraphrasing): Go ahead and get the surgery, and then we’ll tell you if we’ll cover it. That’s a pretty big risk to take, Insurance Company, in the hopes that you’ll … Continue reading

Preparing for Surgery

Going under the knife (or just going under, as many surgical procedures don’t involve much knifing anymore!) can be a daunting prospect. Here are some tips to help you prepare mentally and physically if you or someone in your family is preparing to undergo surgery. Be as informed as possible. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before, during, and after the surgery. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You may want to know about anesthesia, recovery time, hospital stay, pain management, and follow-up procedures. Be as honest as possible. Talk to your doctor about your health — especially … Continue reading

My, How Hospitals Have Changed!

I can’t remember the last time I was in a hospital — maybe it was back in 2001, the summer that both my grandmother and grandfather passed away. If I’ve been in a hospital room since then, it’s lost in memory. But I was in a hospital room today — some very good friends of mine welcomed twins into the world. After I stopped being distracted by holding the tiny babies, I started looking around. Things certainly have changed! Probably the most impressive thing (at least to me) was the wristbands. Mom, Dad, and twins all had barcoded wristbands. This … Continue reading