Author Archive

Abandoned By Your Pharmacy

When I called my pharmacy to refill my blood pressure medication prescription a live person answered. I was so startled I blurted out, “Why are you answering the phone?” I had autodialed the familiar voicemail phone number for prescription refills at the pharmacy I had patronized for the past eight years. My beloved pharmacy (because...

Caregiving. Who’s To Say What It Is?

The American Cancer Society’s descriptions of caregiving tasks were, I recently found, little more than what one might do for someone with the flu. This discrepancy made me reexamine my own caregiving tasks when caring for my wife, who eventually died from terminal brain cancer. For example, at cancer.org the Society provided two lists of...

Whatcom: Chronic & Acute Up Close

You don’t own your digital healthcare data and so you (the patient) cannot dictate who can receive it. Instead of negotiating with you about your digital healthcare data, the recipient you choose must negotiate for your data with the hospital that owns your data and its co-owner, the Information Technology (IT) company that provides the...

Suicide Watch

Prescribing Suicidal Thoughts Even before my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2009, my primary care doctor prescribed Prozac for me and then periodically ask me whether I had suicidal thoughts. I thought that was strange and wondered whether I was displaying some behavior that made me suspect. After 2009 I was asked more...

DATA SCALE

  For six years I took Pravastatin for high cholesterol, but my cholesterol level remained the same. When I began feeling terrible all over all the time with flu-like symptoms, I remembered the side effects of statins: muscular pain, tiredness and weakness. I was reminded that the drug was recommended for patients with multiple risk...

CAREGIVERS PROTECTING PATIENTS

For two months I had been searching for an audience for a presentation about my book, Waking Up Dying, without any luck. I had written my book with three audiences in mind: healthcare providers (doctors and nurses), caregivers (friends, family and loved ones of patients) and patients (stricken men and women, mainly with terminal diagnoses)....

Follow The Money

Follow The Money Most of what is being done in the name of healthcare reform and end-of-life preparation is determined by the availability of money to support the efforts. No funds, no effort. It doesn’t matter what the cause or need is. That’s life, most of us have learned. Follow the money. It is discouraging...

Whose Colon Is This Anyway?

Colonoscopy: Whose Colon Is This Anyway For years I declined the colonoscopy my doctor recommended, but I never explained why because it would detract from the purpose of my current appointment. My choice for colorectal cancer screening was an annual fecal occult blood test. What annoyed me was that I had to request this test...

Back MRI

No News Is Not Good News An orthopedic surgeon who operated on my back in August 2011 ordered a follow up MRI at the same time I was getting a left hip MRI to see if I had a hip joint fracture. When I met with him he said the MRI of my hip showed...

HEALTH INSURANCE DOESN’T TRAVEL WELL

HEALTH INSURANCE DOESN’T TRAVEL WELL Seriously ill people must take their health insurance with them when they travel. But not all health insurance is portable and so continuing care and treatment away from home can be difficult. Patients may have a bucket list to fulfill or be seeking alternative treatment or want to visit loved...