Links to medical sites

JULY 12, 2013

This is all about the colon. First there were lawyers. Then there were doctors…

Keeping fingers crossed. This ACTORVIST patient ain’t finished yet! Wife nearby.


JULY 16, 2013

Well, I’m still alive. Still in what’s called “recovery”.

Interesting people, doctors. They are pretty well all specialists today. They have their own turfs. And I find they don’t talk to each other a whole lot. I have to think about heart, lung, blood, liver, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and now my gut. I get back a mixture of good news and bad news. I think the key is having a good, open primary physician to be able to talk to. But they’re very very busy these days, there’s not enough of them, and they seem to be very hard to get ahold of. I’ll know more next week, I guess.

Nevertheless, I go home tomorrow.



December 14, 2012:
With the terrifying news out of Newtown Connecticut this morning, it is now more clear than ever that psychological profiling of any student demonstrating possibly dangerous behavior be ordered, and to hell with their personal right to privacy. When lives and guns are involved, emergency methods must be taken. It seems that these perpetrators are seeking closure of some kind. When that involves mass killing and the taking of their own lives, society is at risk, remains unprotected, and learns nothing.

It’s time the American Psychiatric Association got its act together. Let the ruling body immediately review the latest DSM-5, and “clean it up” to the extent of including a requirement that any individual inflicted with the pain of Parental Alienation (PAS or whatever)  HAS A FORM OF MENTAL SICKNESS. Until this is done, students wracked with overwhelming conflicts lurking in their inmost family relationships will continue to seek relief. It is worth noting that the first victim of this latest outrage by a twenty-year old male student was his sleeping gun-loving mother, and then on to the elementary school to take down teachers and babies. This happened in the peaceful Connecticut countryside community of Newtown. 28 people have died, including himself, and still counting!

[Piers Morgan on CNN publicized his opinions on gun violence, and incredibly, the NRA is asking for his eviction from the shores of the USA! This column appeared in MailOnline on December 30, the end of the year. He says it better than I could have done]

December 13, 2012:
I see in an article in the current Time Magazine (Dec. 17), a report on the new guidelines for Mental Illness. It summarizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), used by doctors for their purposes and insurance companies, on which to base their decisions. The new features of the DSM-5 have just been approved, and will be published in May 2013. They’re just “cleaning it up” until then.

The article tells us that in the world of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is more or less the bible. Doctors use the DSM’s definitions to diagnose depression, stuttering, fetishism, schizophrenia and more than 300 other conditions. Insurance companies use it to justify reimbursements; without a DSM code, mental-health patients usually don’t get a dime. And the manual carries enormous cultural heft: when it stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder–after a 1974 psychiatrists’ debate in which being gay was deemed sane by a vote of 5,854 to 3,810–gay rights received a crucial boost.

Among the many conditions listed, those with affects caused by Hoarding, Bereavement, Binge Eating etc. are allowed; Aspergers and Autistics is a maybe, and Parental Alienation Syndrome is definitely not in.

Much has been written and much has been discredited in the efforts of Richard Gardner, who came up with it back in the early 1980s. But I’ve had personal reasons to revisit and rethink the case of Parental Alienation, and whether it rises to the level of a syndrome. There is a storm of controversy attached to it.

But first, what is a syndrome? Wikipedia comes up with this definition:

In medicine and psychology, a syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by someone other than the patient), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the healthcare provider to the possible presence of the others.

Let’s assume that you are a divorced or separated parent, and that your kid is firmly alienated towards you, one of the parents, and there is no underlying reason! By underlying reason, I mean that you, the alienated parent has no history of abuse, violence, or drunken behavior, and instead your behavior has always been loving and steadfast and caring, and, even better, you have always provided financial support for the kid without protest. And in fact, used to have an excellent relationship.

I believe that the condition has become hard-wired into the child’s mental processes, and is therefore a form of clinical sickness capable of being rectified.

Well, the DSMs say that, nevertheless, it is not an insurable condition. It may require medical intervention, or it may require counseling, but it’s only if you go along with their opinion and it’s your choice. As far as the courts are concerned, it doesn’t exist as a syndrome, or an identifiable medical condition, and will probably refer to the DSM protocol.

It is my view that, lacking any other probable cause, a syndrome IS operating. Professional intervention is not only advisable, but, bearing in mind the kid’s future workplace career and college education, should be required by any licensing authority, and even ordered to be tackled by the medical profession, the schools, and the courts. The official view seems to be that the individual’s and family’s right to privacy comes first, and the public’s right to be safe and protected comes second.

Whether the other parent, the one conditioning the child towards alienation, should be punished is a different issue, already in hand. That parent may well go to prison if the other one pushes for it, for the courts frown on that behavior. But if that happened, even such an order most probably will not release the child from his or her frozen mental state, might even make it worse (“So you put my Dad/Mom in prison? I HATE you”), and therapy will still be needed. Please, do everyone, and your child, a favor.

Just got off the phone with a customs official at LAX, trying to get my Pradaxa delivered to me from a Canadian pharmacy. Pradaxa is a blood-thinning drug which has largely replaced Warfarin (Coumadin). Made by a Swiss firm, it is hugely expensive in the U.S. The drug is marketed in Canada under the name Pradax, and is half the price.

Continue Reading Drugs from Canada

It’s been "time out" for me for a while, I’m afraid.  After my heart attack almost a year ago, I’ve been medicated and exercised and dieted and monitored within an inch of my life, and then unexpectedly went into atrial fibrillation, fortunately while I was under observation at the hospital.

A short trip to the ER, a few days to settle down while blood clotting problems were dealt with, and then a pacemaker was installed, on this date, December 13. Another tentative Christmas to look forward to.

I feel better now.  A twice daily cocktail of strange looking pills, daily walks, and the knowledge that the blood flowing in my veins has been watered down with Cumadin. aka Warfarin, which in case you didn’t know, is used to kill rats. No comment.  Please!

I wish they’d installed a GPS along with the pace-maker. Then I’d feel comforted, knowing I’d never get lost. And maybe, come to think of it, an iPhone.  . . All kinds of junk would fit in there.

O.K., so lawyers hate me. Now perhaps some doctors will hate me too, because I am going to recommend things connected to your health, yes major things, where I believe a patient may do better than just asking your regular M.D. for advice.
First off, I have had 4 hernia operations. The first was in New York in the early sixties, and I was startled to find that there seemed to be no settled method to surgically fix these things. Some do it in the office with a local anesthetic, some put you in the hospital, and they all sound very sincere and expert in their opinions. I auditioned for a doctor then, and wound up with a Dr. Lazarus (!), and he put me a hospital room next to the old Madison Square Gardens, the same room where Rudolph Valentino died. He did his thing, and, well, I didn’t die, but the operation failed.
Next, the other side popped when I was living in Dublin, Ireland. I had that fixed by Dublin’s top surgeon. That failed too.
It seemed to me that hernias were problems for a specialist, and the trouble is many doctors fancy they have the ability to make the effort and a quick buck at the same time. Then I found a place where the surgeons do nothing else all day, up in Canada.
Both of these hernia operations were repaired for (so far) ever, guaranteed not to fail again or a free re-do, and I’m more than happy to give them a plug here. The Shouldice has you up and walking immediately, and normally out of there within three days. But let them speak for themselves.
There, that’s all they do, and have done since the second world war, which started them off. You will find that their price, plus the cost of airfare (it’s just outside Toronto) will beat any hernia price down here in the States.
Now this is worth considering. If you have some pending expensive elective surgery, and especially if you have no insurance like me (other than Medicare), think about a location trip to Bangkok, and an appointment with the folks at Bumrungrad Hospital.
No, haven’t done this yet, but it could be next on my agenda. And I hear their cost is about one eighth what it is here in the U.S. of A.
Check out their website:
Bumrungrad Hospital