I have a very social job. My entire workday is listening and talking to people. It’s fulfilling and stimulating, but I may go through an entire day without any time alone. Sometimes, eating a sandwich at my desk, with the door closed, finishing my charting for the morning, I listen to opera. Even just for a few moments, I am transported to another realm before I begin my next meeting. Kate Murphy (“No time to think”, New York Times, Sunday July 27, 2014) notes how “crazy busy” everyone is these days.... Read More
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This last week, my youngest daughter was visiting from New York. She is a newly minted “Family Nurse Practitioner” and is providing primary care at a Community Health Center in New York. She observed how many patients come in and want prescriptions for tranquilizers (Xanax, Valium, Ativan), pain pills, or stimulants (presumably for ADHD). “They tell me that when they take Xanax they feel good,” she said. She tells them—“Wanting to feel good is not an indication for Xanax!”
Many of my adolescent patients tell me the same thing about marijuana. “It makes me feel good”, they say. Of... Read More
Do you wake up feeling tired? Do you check your work email before you get out of bed? Do you work at your desk during lunch? Do you run from meeting to meeting without a moment in between? Do you wonder if you can ever keep up with all of your work email?
(Gee, some days that sounds like me!)
An article in The New York Times (February 9, 2013, “Relax! You’ll be more productive” by Tony Schwartz) cites some interesting research that demonstrates that taking more time to relax and recharge actually increases productivity and work efficiency.
It’s easy to think that... Read More
There was an uplifting article about “A Soldier’s War on Pain” in last Sunday’s New York Times, written by Barry Meier. In 2010, Sargent Shane Savage was on patrol in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded, crushing 24 bones in his left foot and causing a severe concussion.
He was sent home a week later, and joined a legion of young men in the military who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, head injury, and now, chronic pain. In order to ease his pain, he was... Read More
There is no doubt that women struggle the most with work/life balance issues. But this is becoming a growing issue for men too. The Pew Research Center found that since 1965, men have tripled the time they spend with children. In the last decade, the number of stay at home dads has doubled. With the recent economic downturn, more middle-aged men have lost their jobs than ever before. The net result—many of these men are at home while their wives work. It’s a changing world.
Don’t get me wrong. In my opinion, working women have the lion’s share of this challenge. According to a... Read More
This winter, a scientific hypertension guideline group, decided that we oldsters, over 60, could have a higher blood pressure than previously recommended. Previously, adults were told to have a blood pressure below 140/90 and ideally, near the norm of 120/80. But now, according to this organization, we can safely have a blood pressure of 149/90 or below. A recent article in The New York Times (December 18, 2013) reviewed these new guidelines.
Phew! This is good news for me (I hope). I was diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure when I was 50 (that’s when I started to have... Read More
A recent article in the New York Times (4/17/2104) The Antidepressant Generation by Doris Iarovici M.D. raises some important points about the use and possibly over-use of anti-depressant prescriptions for young adults.
There is little doubt that anti-depressants can offer great relief to adults struggling with paralyzing depression, when they are having difficulty functioning in their life.
But walk into your primary care provider’s office, break into tears, complain of poor sleep,... Read More
Spring is finally here, with blooming cherry trees, and apple blossoms, white and luminous. I love the first weeks of this season, which always comes early to the Northwest. We have even been blessed with a couple of sunny days!
It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and dream about lazy summer days, floating on our backs in a nearby lake. But oh no! What about those several pounds that I gained over the winter? I guess it’s time, once again, to “go on a diet” and lose my winter weight.
We are truly fortunate. The 60 billion dollar per year diet industry... Read More
There was an excellent essay last Sunday (New York Times, March 23, 2014, What I would say to my fat son, by Joshua Max) about the author’s overweight childhood. So many children and teens struggle with their self-image, who simply doesn’t fit the cultural picture of “slender”. Frequently, they are height and weight proportionate, but just genetically configured differently than Hollywood’s idea of the beautiful body. Moms and dads try to reassure these kids, keep them... Read More
If you’re like me, you have been glued to the TV watching the Olympics these last two weeks. I always feel a letdown after the closing ceremony. I love the ice-skating, the alpine skiing, and the crazy snowboarding events. Now that it’s over I can finally get to bed at a reasonable hour!
It’s wonderful to see these young athletes pouring their heart and soul into their sport. They seem almost superhuman as they glide across the ice, fly down the mountain, or race across the finish line.... Read More