PHOTO FROM CNN
Last week a woman who went to my church took her own life and this week designer, Kate Spade, and cultural and culinary journalist, Anthony Bourdain, hung themselves. Like you, I’m stunned and saddened, but the more I learn about suicide, I realize we shouldn’t be surprised.
According to the Center for Disease Control, each year, more people die from suicide than from car accidents. The suicide rate in America has increased 25 percent in the last 20 years.
Many of my patients complain of pain in their knees when they stand up from a sitting position. It’s a COMMON COMPLAINT. It’s often one of the earliest signs of arthritis, and it’s certainly a reminder we’re getting old. When I was a young woman, I could go from lotus position, to a sprint, without thinking one iota about my knees. Now just to get up—after sitting through a rerun of Law & Order—is a stark reminder of my age.
Our aged knees would like nothing better than for us to get in the fetal position and stay there.
I often find myself telling my patients what not to do, instead of what TO DO. Frankly it’s easier to dole out restrictions than recommendations. Here’s an example: Don’t eat sugar. That’s easier than trying to tell a patient under what circumstances it’s okay to eat sugar. But here’s one on the TO DO list:
Do single leg standing exercises! They improve balance and help prevent falls.
My desk faces a large window and I’m blessed with a beautiful view of two large pine trees that are home to dozens of birds. From early spring, through late fall, the birds are loud and active. Staring out at those trees this morning there’s too much wind, too little sun, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late for spring.
Recently my doctor, in his most serious tone, told me I tested positive for Celiac Disease, and in the same breath, told me I had symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. If I wasn’t careful, SAD could lead to clinical depression.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Mother Nature has one heck of a sense of humor!
We all need competent, compassionate doctors who listen and then give us thoughtful answers and next steps. Most doctors are great about writing down complicated medical terms or drawing diagrams of things like the hypothalamus, although we’ve all had doctors who, at the very least, were arrogant jerks.
Like the doctor who, before introducing himself, slipped my x-ray into the light box and said, “This will probably result in the amputation of your right foot.”
People always ask whether to use heat or ice, and the honest answer is, for the most part, it really doesn’t matter. Neither is going to ruin the opportunity to heal or have a major effect on the outcome.
For most conditions, it’s about what feels best. Especially when it comes to chronic conditions, like arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis.
Instead of taking advantage of the holiday sales, I spent my “Christmas money” on a trip to the cardiologist for a nuclear stress test. As the treadmill speeded up and the incline became steeper, the goal was to see how long it took my heart to reach 129 beats a minutes. It took 9.8 minutes, which statistically speaking, means I have the stats of a 28-year-old female. That’s incredible because statistically women my age—68—reach a heart rate of 129 beats a minute in only 3.2 minutes.
While that’s great news, I still don’t know what caused me to almost pass out in Neiman Marcus.
If you’ve been reading my posts you know I often base my recommendations on the basis of how I earn a living. If I see a pattern which results in injury, I try to recommend ways to prevent them.
Frankly I should be promoting sports, boot camps and extreme strength training programs. They’ve created a huge business for surgeons. They provide patients ripe for the picking! I should promote the decorating of houses for Christmas, because ladder injuries deliver a sweet financial boost just before year end.
What about the number one New Year’s Resolution? How could there be any harm there?
I used to call this time of the year “The Season of 1,000 Temptations.” I’d cling tenuously to whatever diet I was on at the time, knowing there’d be a moment when I couldn’t resist temptation any longer, and I’d eventually eat something “bad.”
After that, I’d eat as much as possible until New Year’s Day, promising myself that this next year would be the year I finally got my eating under control.
It never was “the year.” Instead I lived with a constant, overwhelming sense of failure.
Man on a ladder installing outdoor Christmas lights.
It’s that time of the year, and I’m already seeing the seasonal uptick in the number of ladder injuries. Interestingly, there are now more ladder injuries during Halloween because hanging lights for that dark day has now become de rigueur.
Look, it’s pretty simple. Ladder injuries are potentially devastating and almost 100 percent preventable.