A Patient is just as responsible as their Doctor

The Patient’s Duty:

Deutsch: Ein Arzt beim Abhorchen der Lungen mi...

–       Know how to communicate effectively with medical staff.

Rudeness will not aid or speed up your care, and there is no 100% success rate for any Doctor, a diagnosis can change based on further tests or second opinion. You are as much responsible for your own body and health as your Doctor is, they will do their job in aiding your health, but you should do the same.

–       Know your rights.

I, as have many others, have experienced problems with Doctors who are reluctant to make referrals or give prescriptions, and instead of having a “better safe than sorry” attitude have an “it’s probably not that” attitude. Well, would you rather a suspicious lump shown up in an ultrasound not be tested further because it “probably” isn’t cancer, would save some funding and the GP’s precious time?

No, it is better to test again to get a clearer picture and confirm that it is definitely rather than “probably” not cancer. The most recent story pertaining to this issue was this article about a lady whose husband could have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s much sooner. The Daily Mail is awful of course, but I found the story interesting.

This BMJ article ‘A horse or a zebra?’ describes a medical student who diagnosed himself correctly, but was told by the GP that this diagnosis was unlikely and would not refer him for testing. This is why sometimes insisting, and knowing your rights, can help you reach a positive outcome quicker, you have to stand up for your health.

Prevention is always better than cure, the funding used on tests to aid early diagnosis, vaccinations, and necessary prescriptions save money in the long-term, and can result in less long-term or chronic conditions that require lifelong medications or treatments.

–       Know when to call NHS Direct instead of an ambulance or going to A&E.

I have heard laughable stories of Continue reading

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The rising cost of Smoking

An anti-smoking message painted on a pedestria...

An anti-smoking message painted on a pedestrian crossing in the Orchard Road area in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The price of cigarettes is set to rise again, and while I support anti-smoking and awareness campaigns, I remain dubious that the prices will really put that many people off. This has been tried before and an addiction is an addiction whatever the price. Smokers already accumulate huge annual spending on their habit, yet this is not usually a sole reason for quitting, and one must want to quit to have the endurance to do so successfully.

My main concern is that smoking has been largely associated with poverty or low-income areas, where countless studies have shown that there are higher rates of smoking and obesity, and has been attributed to the fact junk food is generally cheaper than healthy foods, and a lack of sufficient education/awareness surrounding smoking and nutrition. This is despite research showing there are more smoking support facilities in lower-income areas, perhaps more to suit demand than strategically placed as a preventative measure. Will getting these people to spend more really help them? Would they be discouraged from smoking? Or merely encouraged to spend more on their addiction, and less on something more beneficial such as a decent meal.

Something I feel would have been more beneficial than hiking up the prices is the idea of having more graphic images on the packets. The proposed images include that of a smoker’s corpse in the morgue, which is of course extreme and controversial, hence this idea was rejected by the court as a violation of the consumer’s rights. But I happen to think that it is a consumer’s rights to know and see fully the reality of what they are buying into, doing to themselves, and what effect it will undoubtedly (not “maybe”) have on their body, it is not a lucky dip with which smoker doesn’t develop cancer, because regardless of cancer, all smokers will detriment and reduce their health and breathing capacity significantly. And rather than the packets saying “Smoking can kill you”, a more accurate summary would be “Smoking will kill you, sooner or later*” with the small-print “*Unless you get hit by a bus first”.

I’m also in full support of the idea discussed a while back in a BMJ article that postmortem/autopsy certificates should have a cause of death label ‘Smoking’, rather than just merely ‘lung cancer’ or similar, as some people develop these with no self-induced cause. It is already undeniable that smoking is the top cause of preventable death. So I leave you with that theme: prevention.

Smoking is preventable, as is the burden it has on the NHS, and the unavoidable health detriments it has on every smoker. Prevention is always better than cure, so I am not against the rising prices, but I am dubious as to its effectiveness on the socioeconomic groups they should be helping the most.

Smoking around your children is a form of abuse

If this subject offends you, feel free to ignore. But regardless of passive smoking, children’s attitudes to their parents smoking exist and shouldn’t be ignored, a good article I read in December 2011 is here. Attitudes to smoking are changing, let’s hope this continues. The way I see it is simple; if one person in a room has a drink it does not get everyone else in the room drunk, but if a smoker lights up a cigarette everyone in that room is forced to smoke it. And for those who argue ‘they are free to leave the room,’ what if it is a child in their own home? A seven year old child can’t very well pack their bags and leave home to avoid it, in fact they would have built up some unknowing level of addiction themselves from inhaling multiple packs per year. Second hand smoke in a room can contain enough toxic chemicals to equate to 10 cigarettes.

Yet there’s this attitude some smokers have: “I’m not addicted I can quit anytime I want” or “passive smoking can’t be that harmful or they wouldn’t survive past 50 or 60” or even “It won’t happen to me, I won’t get the big C word,” the ‘C’ being Cancer of course, and a level of naivety suggesting that some believe the only risk of smoking is lung cancer or dying young. It is true that not every smoker will develop cancer or die young, but every smoker will develop nicotine addiction and detriment their health, there are no exceptions. The only variable is to what extent their health will suffer, and when. You can always tell a long-term smoker from a non-smoker, the coughing, or the way they get out of breath going up stairs, the way it limits them whether they deny it or not. Even an unfit, obese non-smoker who gets out of breath the same way does not have that phlegm-filled rattling breathing of a long-term heavy smoker, though obesity is just as big a problem, and has caused controversy of its own when morbidly obese children overfed by their parents have been temporarily taken into care, returned when a healthy eating plan has been put into place (I am not advocating this, just mentioning its relevance.)

We can no longer claim complete ignorance; images of blackened lungs adorn our cigarette packets, and we are not sold the supposition that ‘smoking is good for your health’, you will have whiter teeth, be more sexy or sophisticated, this type of advertisement was abolished, and goes beyond the irony of the Marlboro man dying from lung cancer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; this post is not to preach anti-smoking, just anti-smoking around your children. I know many smokers who have the decency and sense to smoke outside so that their children or partners are not forced to inhale it, and especially not in an enclosed space like a car. Yet in the area I live in I am confronted by all sorts of shocking images: pregnant mothers-to-be walking down the street casually smoking, fathers walking with their young children shrouded in a cloud of their smoke, and parents kneeling to check on their infant in the pram, exhaling their cigarette smoke right in their child’s face. This sickens me beyond words.

Smoke as much as you want, it’s a free world, but don’t subject your child to it before they’re old enough to decide to avoid it or take it up themselves. In other words, when your ‘human rights’ impede on your child’s in a way that damages their physical wellbeing it is simply wrong. It is not just your own health you are risking, it is theirs, and there is no ‘maybe’ or ‘but…’ about it, this is not some debateable philosophical question, it is the cold hard facts of scientific research into smoking which we are privileged to be in possession of. My sympathy is with the people of the past who were lied to by advertisements, tricked into smoking without the health facts and unable to make an informed choice, and with the children of our current generation still forced to be non-consensual smokers.

Even if your non-consensual (passive) smoker child does not develop a life threatening or long-term condition such as cancer, bronchitis, asthma, or infection, they will develop some level of addiction and a higher risk of taking up smoking later in life, and why risk it? As parent or guardian to your child these are the type of the risks and dangers your child deserves to be protected from, not have inflicted upon them.

It is not debateable or deniable that smoking harms your health (to whatever extent), it is therefore not deniable that smoking around your children is an abusive risk to their health undertaken by an adult responsible for protecting their children from harm.

This is not meant to be an eloquent, witty or controversial piece of writing, it is a rant. Rant over.

Mind over matter, can thinking kill you?

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...

Image via Wikipedia

Having just read this Guardian article, ‘The nocebo effect’, I’m reminded of how powerful the human brain is. Neurology is my special interest, and the ways that our psychology can interact with our physiology. We all know that stress does not just affect our minds, the way we think or act, but can physically manifest and even shorten your life (good old telomeres!). “Chill out, you’ll live longer” springs to mind. But can a patient affect the course of their treatment just with their mind?

I’m not talking about magic or supernatural powers. I’m referring to the way emotions and attitudes can affect the chemicals released by the brain, emotions after all are just that. A person with depression can be suffering a simple chemical imbalance; perhaps they are not releasing enough serotonin and can be given a tangible remedy. But a person with a state of mind leading to physical symptoms, this is perhaps more difficult to solve, and highlights the need for positivity and better mental health care in the UK.

Take the scenario of a woman suffering a ‘phantom pregnancy’ whereby the abdomen swells, appetite increases, breasts are tender or even lactating. Or an injured solider who still feels pain or an itch which cannot be scratched in the legs he no longer has. These cases exist in no small number, and phantom symptoms are no less real to the patient than those which are visibly proven, yet they are induced solely by the power of the mind. The mind exists only in the brain, and the brain communicates all vital messages to the rest of the body, even the slightest brain damage can have a huge impact on motion, speech, and personality.

Consider what your mind can do when applied to an actual physical condition, can thinking positively really aid your recovery and is thinking negatively detrimental? I believe so to an extent. For example placebos, be they ethically sound or not, undeniably have a positive effect for some people (be it an illusion or not). Countless studies back this up. But can you create your own placebo; can you trick your body into healing faster?

A very interesting topic relating to neurology is pain, which exists in the brain (ironic considering the brain itself feels no pain!). An interesting study I read a while back by the University of Nottingham is discussed in this video: Mind tricks may help arthritic pain

The Difficulties of Getting Into Medical School

English: Insulin type syringe ready for inject...

Image via Wikipedia

Medical Schools are not looking for why they should accept you; they are looking for why they shouldn’t. That may sound cynical but it’s an irrefutable fact that many candidates exceed the entry requirements, yet not all of them can gain an interview or offer of a place. So how do the Universities differentiate between one candidate and another?

Work experience

Are you well informed about the actual demands or pros and cons of being a Doctor? Can you prove it in your UCAS application and talk about it at Interview? Regardless of your age or educational level, work experience is often the thing which differentiates one candidate from another. It demonstrates a hands-on desire to learn about your intended career path, and that you are entering Medicine for the right reasons; because you are aware of what it means to be a Doctor, what the job entails, not because you saw something on Grey’s Anatomy and thought it might be “cool”.

You do not have to have traveled to Kenya to help blind children see again, or have found a cure to cancer, but it often seems that a lot of candidates who are accepted to Medical School have volunteered abroad. What of those who cannot afford to do so? Is it not good enough to have volunteered weekly at a soup-kitchen or been a dedicated fundraiser for your favourite charity? There is a lot one can do without leaving the country and Medical Schools are aware of this.

This is not to detract from the hard work and help many applicants have given to other countries, or to suggest their journey was for the sole purpose of making their personal statements more exciting. But unfortunately this misperception does exist in some form, with some applicants feeling they must pay to go abroad, or be the next Mozart with a musical instrument, and otherwise risk their application being less competitive.

GCSE

Medical Schools must establish how good you look on paper. Some institutions apply significance to GCSE’s; the University of Liverpool School of Medicine states that you must have 9 GCSE’s at grade C and above. You could have gone on to achieve a First Class degree in Biochemical Engineering, but if even one of your 9 GCSE grades is below a C you can forget about applying to Liverpool. It is arguably fair that mature or graduate applicants should meet the same requirements as school-leavers, but with exam retakes being frowned upon by Medical Schools, and even recent academic excellence not compensating for prior GCSE grades, what hope is there for older applicants?

A-Level

Some establishments focus more on A-Levels. Typically grades AAA in Biology, Chemistry and a third subject (for example Physics or Mathematics) are expected, though A*A*A*A*(a) would undoubtedly make an applicant stand out from the rest. If any applicant, be they school-leaver or mature/graduate, does not meet this requirement then this limits their choice of Medical Schools. As an example let us consider an applicant who achieved grades ABC in non-scientific A-Level subjects, then later went on to achieve A*A*A* in science based A-Levels, even then this candidate would not be suitable for UCL Medical School, whom only acknowledge the first set of A-Levels undertaken by the applicant and ignores any later A-Level grades, regardless of academic excellence or the fact they are not retakes. In many ways this is demonstrative of the dreaded feeling that ‘you only get once chance’ with education and pursuing your dream, and leaves many mature/graduate applicants feeling regret over past grades, or not choosing medicine sooner, and that it is ‘too late’ to improve or compensate. This is why Access Medicine courses such as the one at The College of West Anglia can offer a way for mature students to prove their academic ability and suitability to Medicine.

Graduate and Mature Students

I have heard many successful graduates with 2:1 or 1st class degrees say they wish they had never taken a degree, simply because they feel it makes applying to Medical School all the more difficult. Graduates are typically judged more harshly than school-leaver applicants, as if it is a flaw they did not choose or enter Medicine sooner. This is not true for all establishments, some of which are more ‘Graduate friendly’, and realise that applicants who have already succeeded at a degree are often mature, experienced, and able to work hard at a higher academic level, offering a fresh perspective from their chosen subject.

If you are a graduate with a non-scientific degree, this is where selecting medical schools to apply to becomes difficult. Every Medical School is drastically different in their attitudes to mature applicants, ranging from hostility and disapproval to respectful acceptance; some only accept graduates with a science degree, and in general any lower than a 2:1 grade is unacceptable regardless of whether the applicant is entering a Traditional 5 year programme, or accelerated 4-year Graduate entry.

Mature applicants are usually expected to have everything a school-leaver has and more. What can you offer to the Medical School, academically and personally, that a younger applicant might not? This is where you must ‘sell yourself’ in your UCAS Personal Statement, and prove that you have a more in-depth feel for the demands of a career in Medicine, or sophisticated methods for dealing with stress and pressure (which can be backed up by your C.V).

Admissions Tests

The UKCAT (the UK Clinical Aptitude Test): dreaded by many, a walk in the park for others (regardless of their academic ability) invites polar opinions from applicants and Medical professionals alike. Many Doctors agree that the UKCAT does not determine who will or will not make a good Doctor, and that the test should be abolished. Others argue its merit in objectively seeking stronger applicants using a score system, and claim that it is fair because it cannot be revised for; it is not about a candidate’s knowledge, only their ability to think rationally and logically under the pressure of time constraints. Some Medical Schools automatically reject applicants who score below a certain threshold, regardless of their academics or work experience, and invite anyone scoring above a certain amount to interview.

Made up of four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Decision Analysis, none of which refer to or contain anything ‘clinical’, this test can play a large role in an applicant’s chances of securing a place at Medical School, so even if you wonder how seeing a pattern in a load of jumbled Abstract shapes relates to your ability to learn Medicine and care for patients, this will most likely be the test you undertake.

Other admissions tests include the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test) which is over five hours long, and based around a candidate’s scientific knowledge, as well as their literate ability, the BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test), testing aptitude and skills, scientific knowledge and writing ability. For more information on admissions tests see: wanttobeadoctor.co.uk.

Re-applicants

If you are unsuccessful in securing an interview or place at Medical School, should you try again? This depends on your ambition, whether or not you have at least considered alternative careers, what your financial or family situation is, and whether or not you can improve upon your application. Think from an admissions perspective; they have to reject those that do not meet the requirements, and even many who exceed them, there simply are not enough places to go around. There are applicants who have been unsuccessful for four academic cycles then gained a place on their ‘last try’. There is always hope, but the applicant must be willing to improve.

The harsh truth about Medical School is that it can be subjective, and the line between one applicant who exceeds the entry requirements and is rejected, and another in the same position who is accepted, can be blurry. An applicant can meet the academic/personal requirements yet be rejected without even an interview from one Medical School, yet gain an offer from a Medical School typically deemed to be even more competitive.

The best advice any applicant can follow is to research and select their medical school choices very carefully, contact the admissions teams directly, and be aware that there is no easy way into Medical School just as there is no easy way to complete a Medical degree. If you do not like a challenge, or can find no ways to self-improve, then perhaps Medicine is not the right career choice.

Note: Aspects of this post are opinion based and tongue-in-cheek, but any references to a specific Medical School’s entry requirements are accurate at the time of writing.

NHS: Let Them Eat Cake! [Latest Health News in Brief]

NHS Reform. The NHS has its flaws but if you privatise it you are essentially minimising patient care but maximising corporate competition. This belittles the principles of Medicine and healthcare, making it all about profit, money and marketing, rather than caring for people. The only people who win in a Privatised and essentially fragmented NHS are the companies that compete for a stand in Healthcare, whose products and service are not the best but cost the private sector less.

Privatising the NHS is essentially saying “Let them eat cake!” In Marie Antoinette’s world, sure, let the patients eat cake when what they really need is quality healthcare.

I agree with assisted suicide; euthanasia is the kindest gift to offer someone who is in the most extreme circumstance, without any quality of life, and with great suffering. Zürich has voted similarly: click to see news story.

Social networking has become more than just social, it is used in Medical schools, some of which in the UK give out smart-phones to students so that they can carry digital textbooks. There are many pros, but I wonder about the cons; for example, will it deter students from being intuitive or self-sufficient if they rely upon a mobile device for the answers to a correct dosage, will it bias the diagnostic process?

Twitter ‘vital’ link to patients, say doctors in Japan: Click   

Lines between plastic surgery and beauty treatments are diminished, but what by? I believe it is the easier access to cosmetic surgeries and procedures which make them less taboo, more easily attainable and therefore more likely that someone will be inclined towards them (the sheep effect; everyone else is doing it so why not you?). Click here for details.

Obese pregnant women are being given Metformin, usually for diabetics, to reduce the risk of obesity in their babies.

Casualty fan saves baby’s life with skills learned from show:http://tinyurl.com/5ux23q4

Monkey HIV vaccine ‘effective’ I really hope this can give us some insight into a way to cure human HIV victims, and yes I say victims because no one chooses to have HIV/AIDs, however they contract it. I remain dubious, because many ‘cures’, or proposed ones, have been and gone. I’m just glad the research continues, and we’ve gotten so far with extending the lives of HIV victims, delaying full AIDs.

Doctors want a decision on the NHS, but the wrong choice could cause further disarray. Personally I am opposed to the NHS reform, but I wanted to hear the other side of the argument so I went to the Royal Society of Medicine debate; arguments for the reform revolved around increased efficiency, quality of products and care, as well as time management. However, I’m doubtful of that, increased corporate competition will commodify health, and prioritise profit over care.

How Superbugs attack; The research carried out at BMC Systems Biology discovered genes responsible for MRSA‘s grown resistance to the Methicillin antibiotic. As a type of Staphylococcus aureus, it is of interest to my upcoming lab project, where I will measure the rate of growth in bacterial resistance. A toxin taken from the skin of a bullfrog has proven effective in destroying MRSA.

Not looking good

Strange how sometimes I can detach easily, and switch between subjective/objective when necessary.

Today I’m finding it difficult though. Hormonal? Possibly. But mainly it’s surprise; Mr Anonymous seemed so happy and well last week, but today he’s been shaking loads, too weak to even speak, and the other Carer has told me it’s time to mentally detach a bit, which is code for ‘he may be near death’s door’. I can’t accept that right now, even though it happens to us all, and it’s part of the job. I imagine it must be worse for Doctors, especially because patients can die on the table and leave the Doctor feeling responsible, even when there really was nothing they could do.

I think absolutely everything can be taken as a learning experience.

Living with a terminal illness

I am humbled.

Image by squishband via Flickr

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. Mr Anonymous has an inoperable tumour in the right hemisphere of his brain, which means the left side of his body is mostly paralysed. His condition is neurologically complex, to the extent that he could die either any minute, or live for a few more years. Either way, it’s terminal, and the suspense is what depresses him most.

I’ve come to understand how his mind state can differ drastically from one day to the next, because of the conflicting emotions. Sometimes he begs me to pray for him to die, to get it over and done with. Other times he pleads, stating that he is not ready to die yet, and asks what is on the other side; would his wife and children be there. He asks me this despite his Atheist standpoint because, let’s all be honest please, in the face of death you never know how you will feel.

Being bedbound makes him feel useless, so I bring him round poetry and stories sometimes, and this cool device one wears on their hand to exercise it (his functional right hand). I love that he remembers my name, Ruth, even when he forgets some of the other Carers names. I feel we have a genuine friendship, he even agreed to be my guardian angel, which made me laugh because he says: “Guardian angels are the ones who move people up lists and grant wishes, because they seem so serene and wise that no one notices what they’re getting away with.”

It makes me sad that he has deteriorated in the time I’ve known him; he was able to walk slightly, now we use the electric hoist to move him. I feel sorry for his wife because she is going through the same hell that he is, she doesn’t rest enough, is never truly at ease but is always affectionate and polite despite her pain.

“There’s always one happy day, even when the rest are bleak and numbered.” – He said this to me this evening when we put him to bed. He said this is the happiest day he has had since being diagnosed, and that seeing us Carers visit is what makes his day everyday. Well, he made my day just by smiling so freely.

This is why I want to be a Doctor, to see that same smile on the faces of patients and go to sleep at night knowing I have truly helped another person. Being a Carer is helping others of course, but being a Doctor would mean so much more than just making someone comfortable; I could actually help cure them, find a solution, connect with them and their families in such a way that would minimise the pain, even if I am only in their acquaintance briefly. I know I am capable of this, and Mr Anonymous has reminded me of this regularly, he always says he can see me being a marvelous Doctor. I hope he is right, that I can make it someday. And I wish him and his family well, they deserve to be happy.

“You’d make an excellent Doctor”

A thoracic surgeon performs a mitral valve rep...

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Received the nicest compliment today from one of the elderly people I care for, they said there’s something special about me and that I’d make an excellent Doctor.

Also…at the Hospital I volunteer at I found out I’ve been assigned to the Surgical Ward! Very beneficial, especially because I dream of being a surgeon some day.

EX2512exza

Call an ambulance

Apologies to people I am subscribed to, and those in my blogroll, I simply haven’t had any time to read as much or comment lately, let alone write any lengthy posts for my own blog.

What’s my excuse? As well as the huge dissertation article, separate project, double modules at university, commuting to London, and continuous research in my “spare time”, I also work as a carer. The timetable has filled up this week, I’m no longer under mentoring.

Ms Anonymous, a new care receiver I met today, seemed well and able, apart from having a poor memory (I had to remind her each time she asked what time lunch was, and that she had already had breakfast). But, as I and another girl (who does not work for the same care branch as I) were preparing lunch, we heard an almighty crash. We ran to Ms Anonymous’ bedroom to find her crumpled on the floor. She had tried getting out of bed unassisted, and tripped on her Zimmer frame.

We had to call an ambulance fast, because she said she thinks she had broken her leg. We couldn’t take risks, especially seeing as she had a hip replacement recently, and was hospitalized a long time with an infection also. I made sure we kept her still, but comfortable with pillows, and called her son as well.

The ambulance arrived to pick her up, and I hope she will be alright once out of hospital. That’s all I will write for now, it’s important to keep track of these things. Am heading out later for an evening appointment with a different care receiver, hopefully they are faring well, it’s a shame when bad things happen.

A young male cat

Image via Wikipedia

On a brighter note, I saw a very cute cat today who kept me company when I was waiting out in the cold.

Bruising, Forensics

Severe bruises caused by car accident

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Last night I was wondering about bruises. You know sometimes you bash yourself but the bruise doesn’t show up until the next day? Well, with post-mortem examinations, is it possible that there are some cases whereby the person has been bruised but it just didn’t show up before their death?

And if so, would a bruise still be able to show up after death? The problem is, there would be no blood flow to raise to the bruise to the surface of the skin. Maybe bruises show up on people more quickly as they die, because there are usually lots of ways to tell if the bruise is post-mortem or before death. I would have to ask a forensic pathologist.

Here are some interesting little articles:

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/medicolegal/bruise.htm < Medico-Legal Significance of Bruising

http://netk.net.au/Articles/Bruising.asp < Medical reports, bruising caused post-mortem

Life as a Care Giver

Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer's patient in No...

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Firstly, I haven’t been doing this long. But I spent the past few months completing my training, with certificates in First Aid, Health & Safety, Movement & Handling etc. Then I began my mentoring, so I am still not “flying solo”, but I learn from watching/helping the people whom have been carers for much longer.

Today I felt choked up, it was my first time at Mrs Anonymous’s house (Patient confidentiality of course). She has Multiple Sclerosis, and paralysis on one side, meaning she is wheelchair bound and can only use one arm. Not to mention the fact she is 90-something years old, with severe arthritis that curls her toes and fingers into gnarled roots. The discomfort she is constantly in is little eased by medications and prescription creams.

She lives completely alone, with no pets. Pays for her own care, rather than accepting benefits, so perhaps she had a wealthy past. The radio is her friend once we serve her meal and say goodbye, leaving a cup of Earl Grey in the microwave for her like she instructs. She is meticulous, extremely specific in what she wants, even where you place her hairbrush, because this is the only control or power she has left. It’s heartbreaking. Reminds me of my grandmother somewhat, which was the main reason I wanted to do senior care, except my grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and this lady, Mrs Anonymous, seems mentally sharp despite the M.S. But isn’t that the worst part? To be mentally alert but trapped in a crippled body, like a butterfly with broken wings.

Why am I writing this post? I guess I just wanted to give you a glimpse into what caring is really about, and would ask anyone whose grandparents are still alive, to please visit them, take care of them. No one should have to be alone like Mrs Anonymous.

Medical Education Online

 

Image representing LiveJournal as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

 

One more old snippet from my LiveJournal:

  • Apr. 5th, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Interesting medical essays HTML:

Effects of Internet Use on Health and Depression: A Longitudinal Study:

http://www.jmir.org/2010/1/e6/HTML

Learning in a Virtual World: Experience With Using Second Life for Medical Education:

http://www.jmir.org/2010/1/e1/HTML

Aloe can help survival during severe blood loss?

Heart diagram with labels in English. Blue com...

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Just found one of my older LiveJournal posts, it was just a DRAFT of thoughts:

Jan. 16th, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Aloe can help survival during severe blood loss?
www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2004_09_15/clinical11_16.html

I initially searched into this mainly because I was wondering whether panic/increased heart rate sped up blood flow (and therefore blood loss), (and therefore one’s demise), OR, does the quickened blood flow aid the situation, seeing as the heart’s natural response to blood loss is to speed up and release adrenaline as a reaction to lower available oxygen and/or volume of blood itself. Does speeding up of heart rate and blood flow enable the remaining oxygen to be distributed in a way that attempts to simulate the regular amounts.

It is mentioned that aloe increases circulation, and the rats that were injected with it during severe blood loss lived longer than rats that were injected with regular saline. However, the improved circulatory function does pose the risk of obstructing coagulation. Therefore aloe could be useful to prolong a patient’s life, whilst further treatment/aid/procedures are taken to stem the blood flow, or a transfusion is made.

So, is the natural rush of adrenaline, which is automatic in the situation of severe blood loss, helpful? Or is it an inevitable symptom, induced by hemorrhagic shock, which essentially speeds up one’s demise?

Heightened heart rate and blood flow BUT lower blood pressure.

Heightened
blood flow but lower oxygen and blood volume.

If the heart slowed dramatically rather than speeding dramatically once heavy blood loss is induced, the lowered blood pressure would have an intensified impact…therefore it could be theorised that the over-compensation the heart makes in speeding faster is an attempt to normalise the body and pump oxygen to the parts that need it most.

HOWEVER, with wounds, such as those on major arteries, like the jugular, the heavier blood flow would result in a quicker death.

(Original post can be seen here: LiveJournal)

£92.40 for charity in just one day

This baby is one month old.

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Well, I counted up all the coins and notes I collected on Monday, plus some of my own donation fund, and it adds up to £92.40. Which is absolutely amazing for one day of fundraising on my own. There was another £25 people already donated online, which means I’ve exceeded the £100 target.

Here is why I’m doing it:

Harlequin-type ichthyosis is the most severe form of congenital ichthyosis. Swelling to the eyes, ears, and other appendages, mean that the babies born with this skin disease have difficulty seeing, breathing, or even moving.

The texture of the skin means it cannot bend where soft skin usually can, it’s cracked texture is agonising and means the babies are prone not only to infection from the bleeding exposed cracks, but from hypothermia also.

Medication such as Isotrex, which improves their quality of life, are essential. But with your help, further treatments can be found, and you will be contributing to the life-time care that Harlequin sufferers require.

Please click here for more info: http://www.justgiving.com/RNoakes