10 Eye-Popping Questions With Kevin Pho, MD

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MedPageToday is one of my favorite Internet stops for up to date medical information and news.  One of their weekly articles is “10 questions”, a Q&A with the top docs in various medicine specialties.  The questions are all the same, but the answers are insightful and personal.

The questions that most interest me are:

What’s the biggest barrier to your practicing medicine today? What do you most often wish you could say to patients, but don’t? What is the most rewarding aspect of being a doctor? 

WHY?
WHY?

Today they interviewed Kevin Pho, MD. Dr. Pho is one of the social media doc rock stars, and here’s his answer to What is the most memorable research published since you became a physician and why? 

Rather than cite a specific paper, I’m going to say the emergence of the Internet and social media. The Internet has put patients and physicians on an even playing field, with patients having as much access to information as their doctors do. This has changed the role of physicians. Rather than acting as a gatekeeper of health information, they need to be curators of that information instead, and filter out all the misinformation patients may be reading online. Patients are not only researching their health, but their doctors as well. Powerful social media tools allow physicians to educate patients and define their online presence. An online reputation will soon be as important, if not more, than a reputation in the community.

He nailed that answer. Medical providers are curators. The Internet can be a curse, or an empowering source for people looking for answers to their medical questions.  Beware the chat boards where people tell their horror experiences with a medication or lament about the excruciating pain and suffering they endure with the disease you were just diagnosed with.

P1090835Exercise caution when tempted to buy a non FDA regulated “proven effective cure for cancer” and “guaranteed or your money back” program for curing your terrifying anxiety.  Don’t just google your symptoms or forage the Internet for medical information – you WILL find misinformation, and could be terribly misled. Be wise. Instead of just curator, ask your provider to be your Internet gatekeeper.  Or Ask Kevin Pho.  He’ll point you in the right direction.

Yes, that’s me at the top Not one of my better pictures, but at least I look better than Mr. Bones. I told you this was eye-popping.

Valentine’s Day Gifts: Last Minute and Fantastic!

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You don’t need me to remind you tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. What you do need is some amazing gift ideas that will make your valentine gush and say,

I love this!  You shouldn’t have!

Yes, you should have and you will.  I have no idea where/when Valentine’s Day became a holiday, but I suspect Hallmark had something to do with it.  Don’t have a special someone? You’re not alone, but you don’t need to be left out of the fun.  Think of a person who you can bless: grandma, grandpa, a widow, your barista (did I mention I’m at Starbucks right now?), an old teacher, the garbage man, your letter carrier, gosh there are tons of people who would be blown away by your spontaneous kindness.

Valentine’s Day Gifts: Last Minute and Fantastic

P1120311Homemade dinner:  Guys: pick up a bottle of wine, get a couple of tenderloins or sea scallops, crusty bread, a frozen veggie with sauce, and a package of pre-cooked brown rice. Dessert: her favorite ice cream.

 

 

 

Photo book or a framed print: There must be a few especially cherished digital photos you can find, put on your USB and get to Target or Walmart and get them printed in minutes. Pick out a simple frame, get a fancy bag with lots of colorful tissue paper, tie a balloon to it, and include a beloved chocolate bar or two.  Throw in a Starbucks gift card.P1030130

Goody Basket: These are always my favorite!  Fill a tote or wicker basket with cool and thoughtful presents.  Good tea, funky drink ware, mineral water, iTunes gift card, votive candles, a book light.  Lots of things you can find that your valentine will love.

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Sleepy-time: For the one who loves sleep. P1040672A new pillow, a sherpa throw, slippers, lavender room spray, and replacement PJ’s.  Out with the old, in with the new. Guys: forget the lacy tight Victoria’s secret crap.  Real women want comfort and room.

 

Candy hearts and fold over kid’s cards: Pick out the best phrases and arrange them on a table in a heart shape.  In the middle of your big heart lay all the cards that you personalized and sealed with those cute little heart stickers.

Valentine’s day, love or hate it, it’s here again.  Whatever you choose to do, have fun. How about some more ideas in the comments.  I know you have a great one to share.

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3 Reasons Why I Quit Sending Christmas Cards

Traditional ChristmasGrowing up, sending and receiving Christmas cards were a big deal.  My mother taped them on the wall and we kids would take our time browsing each row, oohing over the sparkly ones that dripped silver glitter onto our fingers.  I too carried on this tradition until I began to notice a trend. Gone are the days when my doorframes and fireplace mantle were adorned with dozens of Christmas cards and letters. For the last several years I sent out way more cards than I received. Last Christmas, it got much too few to bother displaying.  This year, I sent less than a dozen.  Next year my plan is to send zero.

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Why have

I chosen to abandon

this Christmas Card tradition?

 

  1. Less holiday stress: My husband and I would spend several hours a night over a week’s time individualizing and addressing the cards. When we graduated to the photo cards it become a little easier, but we spent more money. Inevitably there was the card that came Christmas Eve day. I didn’t send them one! I kicked myself for crossing that friend of my list. Now I looked like a jerk.  Who needs that kind of stress?
  2. Less extended family and smaller circle of friends: Christmas cards were a way to say hi to friends and relatives who you didn’t see on a regular basis.  And, when our boys and our friends’ children were small it was fun to see how much they changed in a year’s time.  Now that most of my aunts and uncles have passed away and two of our three kids are college age,  it seems like the right time to start a new tradition.  Also, even though we said we would, it has been hard to stay in touch with friends who have moved.
  3. It’s a digital world: Why send handwritten snail mail cards when I can stay in touch with everyone digitally?  I can put together a super duper photo collage in iPhoto and email it with instant delivery.  It costs nothing but a small time investment, and it’s good for the environment. Or use a free online card service such as 123 GreetingsBlue Mountain, or Canva.

Is the traditional physical Christmas card approaching extinction?  In my home, yes.

It’s ok if you cross me off your paper card list. But please add me to your digital one. However you choose, it is good to stay in touch.

snoopy

Your Phone Doesn’t Love You

work with me people

Are we missing something by seeing the world through our digital eyes? We watch concerts through our DSLR video features, see sunsets through super resolution cameras, and have what could be face to face conversations through phones.

Ttextingexting our friends who are sitting across from us, Skyping or FaceTiming family members who are in the house with us, and using Facebook to ask a friend what time the party starts.

Digital World
It’s great to have this technology, but don’t go too far.  Interpersonal communication with a physical human being that includes touch, facial expressions, inflections, tone – remember that?  Watch the concert, the play, the vacation, the milestone through your unplugged eyes, ears, and hands. Try it. You’ll like it.

 

Are You at the End of Your Rope? You’re Not Alone

falling over

No matter how bad things are for you right now you must never stop believing things will get better.  You might not be able to take another day, but you can take another minute.  Get through the minute, then the hour, the afternoon, the day.

getting up

In my many years of practice, I have seen immense suffering.  I have witnessed death. I give care to homeless, to people who have nothing but the clothes on their back and their next breath.  Does it surprise you to hear that even those sleeping on the street with stomachs grumbling with hunger still see that life is worth living?

You are not alone.  As Theodore Roosevelt said,

When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.

upright

 

Dogs in the Hood

I love to take pictures of dogs.  It helps that I have I friendly Labradoodle named Frodo to introduce me to the dogs in the neighborhood as well as others at the dog park.

Frodo and Buddy
Frodo and Buddy
Izzy
Izzy

Izzy is never without her tennis ball. 

At the dog park
At the dog park. This guy liked to hide under benches.
pinky
Paquita. My son is holding this tiny puppy. Precious.
poochie
My son met this cutie in the Dominican.
DR dog
Another dog from the Dominican Republic.
ella
Ella is a yorkie poo. I think Ella and Frodo are married.
Street Performer
Street Performer. We see him regularly at the dog park, ball in tow.
Big Sammy
Frodo’s brother and best friend Sam.

 

 

 

 

Sam
Sam: a watchdog.  He runs down the driveway when we walk by and gives us a good scare, but he stays on his turf.
Kirk and Spock
Kirk and Spock. I saw these two waiting for their owner to return. I couldn’t resist.

I have met some great dogs and made new friends (human and canine) because of my loveable Frodo.  If you are looking to meet people and could use a best friend,  I guarantee a sweet dog will not disappoint…

Amber
Amber a sweet girl, watch out though if you are eating: she will stare you down for a taste.

 

Murphy.  Frodo's first friend.  When Frodo wanders off he is always at Murphy's house.  Vice versa.
Murphy. Frodo’s first friend. When Frodo wanders off he is always at Murphy’s house. Vice versa.

 

Ruby
Ruby.  Shy, busy.  Love that tooth.
Buddy
Buddy is warming up to us humans.  He was skittish when first meeting Frodo.  Now they are buddies.

How to Spot a Liar – 8 Signs

 I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. Friedrich Nietzsche

We live among liars. They are in our government, our work places, our communities, and unfortunately even in our homes.  Maybe you are the one lying.  If you are, it’s just a matter of time before you are found out.  Stop it now and you may have a chance of repairing the damage.

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After a while, the stress of maintaing a lie takes it’s toll and a liar yearns to be found out. If you haven’t seen The Machinist, it’s an unforgettable movie with an outstanding performance by Christian Bale, and an extreme example of the consequences of lying and denial.

How do you know someone is lying?

  • Mechanical gesturing or the sense of rehearsal
  • Inconsistent eye contact: lack of, too much, or eye darting
  • Hands close to body
  • Touches ear or other facial parts
  • Change in voice pitch-higher
  • Repeats your words verbatim
  • Subtle shoulder shrugging
  • Inconsistencies in details

Now that you know you are being lied to, how to handle it can be tricky.

The best way out of a lie is to tell the truth.  As Tolstoy said,

...anything is better than lies and deceit.

do not lie

Got a Whiner? You’re Not Alone

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Next time your child asks you Why do I have to…. I’ve got a fresh supply of witty and unconventional comebacks for you to use. Say them with conviction, and don’t dare laugh – the key is to catch your kids off guard.  Distraction, diversion, and redirection are all great methods to help get your kids to stop whining, and back to what they where supposed to be doing…Read the full post here.

 

New York: The World’s Best Food and a Surprise

My family and I just got back from a four day getaway in NYC.  We had a phenomenal time, saw Spiderman on broadway, and got soaked from the relentless rain downpour from tropical storm Andrea.  I’ll be blogging about our highlights, which were many. I love Manhattan, the natives were some of the friendliest folks I have met yet.  I may not be from the big city, but New York has always been my home.  Born in Central, live in Western, and can’t wait to get back to the heart of the big apple!

First stop: Mozzarelli’s – my hubby who has celiac disease was lucky to get the last two slices of G/F pizza.  His review: tasted good, crust nothing special.

mozzarelli's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next meal: Otarian – A haven for vegans and vegetarians and even carnivores will be satisfied with the flavorful and creative wraps and sandwiches.  Big hit with the whole family, and of course, gluten-free items abound.

octarian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, for the surprise:  Korean BBQ. Yikes! Octopus tasted like cold, bland, chicken…blaah for me.  Rest of the food: thumbs up.  You can see my son’s face reacting to the octopus.

bbq3

bbq2

This the food that makes my gang happy:

pizza

The pizza at this restaurant was super, hubby got a delightful salad, and they forgot to put the pepperoni on our pie so they took it off our bill.  We love you Bella Vita!

bellavita

A trip to NYC  is not complete without a stop on Bleeker Street. Here we are at the award winning Risotteria’s.  What?! Gluten-Free breadsticks, happiness!

risotteria

risotta

Ok, so we just finish late lunch at the risotto bar, and thirty minutes later we see John’s. Best pizza in NYC? We had to find out. John’s is a frequent stop for the locals and celebrities.  I wonder if Johnny Depp sat at our booth?

john's pizza

family eating

We love you too John’s and your pizza gets the Davis Pizza Guru’s (Garrison) stamp of approval!

john's

And for the finale, Rocco’s for fine pastries, hand filled cannoli’s, and gluten free cookies.

roccos roccorest

Couldn’t leave without bringing home some coffee and sweets.

I love New York.

coffee NYC cupcakes

 

Listen Up: Five Ways to Listen Better

listen upI am impatient. My husband, kids, mother, friends, will back me up on that.  I don’t know the beginnings of my feverish ways. Sometimes it has been a blessing (my work is always done on time and I excel at multitasking), but mostly it is a burden.  I was having coffee the other day with a dear friend and she remarked that I seemed more “hyper”. I blamed it on my triple americano, but after thinking about it, I had to agree.  I am hyper. I don’t like it and I need to slow down.  What must I do?

For starters, I needed to be quiet, and listen.

shhhh

I know how to listen professionally, but I knew I could be a better listener. And, I wanted to maybe hear God’s voice.  I’ve always believed that God can be heard in stillness. If I am constantly plugged in, working, teaching, full throttle rushing through my days, then I forfeit any hope of hearing the one voice I needed to hear the most.

Mother Teresa said,

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself.

I am impatient, but working on it. I am listening to my family, my friends, my God.  It is marvelous to distinguish their voices, and yes, my heart has heard God speak.  Now that I know what I’m listening for it’s so easy to hear. Are you impatient too, or do you struggle with listening?  Start by watching this enlightening TED video by Julian Treasure on five ways to listen better. It’s only seven minutes long. You will be inspired, and will be a much better listener when you are done.