- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Pain Management
- Hits: 1388
Yes Virginia, there are two ways of treating pain in this world. Pill versus no pill. And where do I stand on this?
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Exercise
- Hits: 1138
Ok. Update time. So - I still live where I live. And enjoying every bit of it. I am far from living in the best part of the world. I simply know how to enjoy the things given me no matter how cheap they are. People like me see a rainbow everywhere we go. But I prefer to let the embedded pictures tell you what I experience and see, from the sea to the parks, from my shoes to the fish I baked. I sometimes wonder why some claim to suffer from fear, anxiety or depression. If you just go out there in an early morning and walk those legs and open your eyes, you’d realize life is not bad at all.
The last few weeks were hectic for me. There was the website I am working on. There were books I read ( bio of Elon Musk, Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint) and immersion into my ‘programming zone’. Yes I had some extra days off. But then, I suddenly became needed at work the following week. From the ‘programming zone’ I switched to my daily work of treating patients in the hospital ( which is a completely different zone, I tell ya). I am getting used to this lifestyle now. Sudden work and sudden off work. Good thing is, I am tapering off at work and start doing things that I enjoy. Unfortunately, I have to work around my less income.
But I am about to blog a few things I heard and saw in the last few days.
I had a few stroke patients who 1) one of them claims she did gardening under this Florida heat for more than 3 hours 2) another claims that he biked or worked out more than 2 hours (again under the Florida heat - BTW, this guy also skips his BP medicines) both of them are blaming super hot Florida for their strokes and both seem to be recovering well. Obviously they are both active.
Let me be clear that I am not establishing a direct correlation between ‘heat/overdoing tasks’ and stroke ok? It just so happens that the two patients (or their families) that I saw last week were blaming the heat for their strokes. There are other factors to consider before categorically attributing some stroke to one specific factor. Like blood pressure, heart condition, BP, DM, previous strokes, palpitations etc. But to err on the side of caution, I guess it is safe for people way over 50 years old or so (like me) to be careful when doing activities outdoors. I once ran 5 miles and on my way to my place I saw how dirty the landscape was and I instantly went into my landscaping mode that involved a lot of bending, pulling weeds etcetera and at one point I thought I’d pass out. Yeah, it was that very hot and humid. And stupid for my part. True we can easily get carried away but it’s better to withdraw early and reschedule a heavy task (no matter how enjoyable) for another day just to give the body a break and to recuperate.
An old car is an old car. I will not subject an old car to non-stop ‘round the US’ trip. That’s what I subscribe to. Friends lets be firm about certain things to make sure we don’t jeopardize our health:
Avoid over doing things.
Avoid sudden change in lifestyle (such as running a marathon after months of inactivity or playing golf the whole day due to being on vacation mode).
Be careful about sudden transitioning such as getting up abruptly from laying down, or bending too long and then quickly standing (gardening).
Be sensible dealing with the weather.
- Most of all, take your medications and don’t alter without informing your MD.
- Most of all, be active, eat good, enjoy life. Have an activity-filled week ahead of you.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Exercise
- Hits: 1160
Here I am again wearing my PT/health-thinking hat. It had been months since I last wrote anything on my healthysport website. One reason was a visit to the ER due to abscess after my dental work by a Dentist whom I picked out of my HMO insurance catalogue (a stupid move on my part). Told her I was diabetic and isn’t it prudent to err on the side of caution and prescribe me antibiotics as protection? Oh no she said, you look very healthy. No need for meds. Just go to any drug store for any over-the-counter pain meds.
Main lesson here: if you are diabetic, choose your Dentist carefully. I got swollen. I needed IV antibiotics. I lost at least 8 pounds due to inability to eat solid foods. I was not able to run for at least a month.
Thankfully I am now gradually returning to my running routine. I am regaining my old weight bit by bit. I am fully recovered.
I am back to busily wearing different hats - as a programmer, blogger, reader of fantasy novels and PT. I can get overwhelmed sometimes especially when I study a new language and trying to do a complex web app using it. Seriously, if you are new to a computer language, KISS is the first rule. But do I follow this rule? Of course not.
But I feel an update on this site is desperately needed so I’d start with things that I read from PT journals I subscribe to.
Since election is in 4 days, my main area of interest is health care (politically). Clinton’s main thrust is a continuation and tweaking of Obamacare PLUS a public option for insurance which I’d like to see as a preparation for universal healthcare. ALSO, she is floating the idea of dropping Medicare coverage to 55+ which can be awesome for me since I will turn that age next year. If Trump has a better option, and right now all I am hearing is repeal and replace with something ‘better’, I’d go with him. Some of Trump’s health care ideas, like treating premiums as tax deductibles and health care savings and being able to subscribe to insurance across state lines and mandatory transparency on the fees charged by hospitals and clinics (which will stimulate competition and market-driven pricing) are good. But he is also encouraging a ‘pick and choose’ approach for insurance coverage which, in the past had encouraged insurance companies to drop or at least deny some services to people with pre-existing conditions.
That is how I understand the two candidates’ positions on healthcare. Obviously I also take issue with other aspects of their platforms but I’d rather have other websites deal with that. I would like to keep my site health-oriented.
Let me present you some facts(From PT in Motion).
Did you know that :
-- healthcare costs increased an annual average of 2.4 percent from 2003 to 2008 then slowed to 0.7 percent between 2008 to 2012? Is that due to Obamacare, efficient care, electronic record keeping, better negotiations between hospitals and insurance, less sick people, people who would rather die than be hospitalized? What do you think?
--15,781 is the average number of injuries that occur in amusement parks every year for people under 20 that prompt visits to ER, and 8.0 percent of them involve traumatic brain injuries? So parents watch out!
--9.8 percent is the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2014 for adults above 18 years old. 23.1 percent (which was the highest prevalence) was among women 65 and over?
--3.7 days was the number of physically inactive days reported by Americans in a 30 day period?
--563 calories was number of calories burned by 180 pound person playing beach volleyball?
--The lowest rate of hospitalization per 1000 Medicare patients in the US was recorded in Hawaii at 28.2, followed by Utah at 34.0, followed by Idaho at 36.4. National average is 62.9. Something must be doing some people good in some states?
Scaling Cutting Stepping Back
It is very slow in my hospital nowadays. The census is low. Florida economy is reliant on retirees who flock in winter and fly back to north in summer. So people like me, who are per diems (by choice of course) end with less work-days, this somehow gives me a sense of how it feels to be retired. For those who rely heavily on big incomes due to heavy monthly expenses, these days will be mean and challenging. For me however, I have learned to live cheaply so these slow days aren’t that bad, and of course, this is my best opportunity to do my ‘other’ work. Yes, I have a reason for choosing per diem positions because there is another field I am so in love with. That is computer programming. I have been open about this ‘other’ love in this blog, I call it a hobby but deep inside I am also hoping it will generate some value someday, at least enough to pay my monthly bills, so I can go on and on doing this. But that will probably take years, (if it gains traction at all) and one thing I know about programming : You should never think of it as a source of wealth because that is a hit or miss thing. To succeed as a computer programmer, you must first fall in love with it. You know you are a programmer when you look forward to doing it in the morning and something that gives you an inexplicable joy at the end of each day. I am also in love with PT but at a certain point in life, now that I am 54 years old, I needed to diversify. Diversification is the reason I took a second college degree in the field of IT.
I knew that at one point in my life, I had to cut down on PT. But I also knew that I will never leave the field because PT was my entire working world for the past 30 years, 26 of those in the US. You can not just abandon something that nourished you, that gave you security, that protected you just because it became too heavy or monotonous. I felt that I should find a middle ground, a happy medium upon which I can enjoy the best of these two worlds, PT/Health/Rehab and Technology. And here is the result: my website Healthysport. Somehow, this website will give me a platform to develop my skills as a computer programmer and pursue more research in the field of health, specifically related to PT.
There are a few things I am passionate about. The art of movement, activity, exercise, dieting, avoidance of diseases, management of conditions such as stroke, diabetes, injuries. I love to review journal articles on the many aspects of “ living life to its fullest “ : balance, endurance, strength, mental alertness, relaxation, spirituality, life enjoyment through hobbies etcetera. I am a proponent of proactive approach to illnesses. These are important to me. Building wealth (unfortunately) is probably the last thing you want to read in this site. I am particularly averse to becoming rich but I have a full respect for those who seek wealth as a source of joy. Being happy in whatever way you want is what matters.
The good thing is - I can use computer programming to explore, express and demonstrate this passion. That is the happy medium I am talking about. Combining PT/Health/Rehab and technology is my ‘pursuit of happiness’. It is really great to be in my place right now. I wake up in a beautiful morning, opens my computer to write this and in a bit, I will proceed to a library to work on my project myPTClinic which is a virtual PT documentation stored in the cloud. I will discuss this project in more detail when I set it up in my other website (virtualclinicsusa.com). I have been building websites via cloud. I have created virtual servers and you can’t imagine how sweet it is to build them at my pace. These are what I studied IT for and I need to keep practicing on them because that is the nature of programming - you have to keep at it to stay updated and relevant. And now you understand why I am perdiem in PT.
I am reading articles on healthy lifestyle and obviously practice a lot of the things I preach about. I still run and swim and landscape and walk and sleep. I have been keeping my weight well under 25 BMI. Despite my diabetes for years now, I maintain quite a stable blood sugar, manageable BP, cholesterol and triglycerides. I am trying to train my brain to divert its attention from too much number/food/exercise-correctness-awareness because too much focus on anything to the point of obsession can also be dangerous. Sure I falter now and then but as I said in the past, “My ship may trip and swagger and shake and dip a little down the ocean, as long as it doesn’t sink, I feel alright.” My coming researches will be on self assessment of strength, balance, endurance especially those assessment tools for the elderly who are the most vulnerable to problems in these areas. Another area I need to study more is how to be consistent in keeping oneself healthy. A lot of our inconsistencies in habits are mindset-related, I think. There must be some kind of standard impetus to keep all of us moving and exercising and keeping healthy. These I want to learn more about.
I am living in my happy place for now until perhaps I need to get my butt out there to make some money to pay bills. But life is not all about earning money, for me (at least). It is also about cutting expenses and avoiding situations or conditions that will require big bills like hospitalization, medications, risky behaviors, vices, addiction, using credit cards beyond limits, and buying extravagant items. That’s just me. And I am not exactly the mirror image of everyone. Listen, there is nothing wrong with splurging and working a lot as long as that is your concept of happiness. Let me make that clear. I never think I am right and somebody else is wrong. In the first place, how many people will consider sitting in front of their monitor screen for hours working on a virtual project, spending only for bottled water and some cheap lunch? And this, mind you, does not even make money. I feel I am the only one. I have an old classmate who referred a friend of his (via Facebook) to hang out with me. I briefly wondered how that will work given my extreme focus (programmers call it ‘being in the zone’). I politely declined using my coding in my free time as an excuse(which is definitely true). In some ways I felt guilty for being a snob maybe? But there are people like me who can not simply go out there and be of social graces knowing their time could be spent more wisely in the program they work on. They call them people like me ‘nerds’ and mostly, ‘nerds’ are also associated with social awkwards. But each of us have a unique way of living. The point is - always pursue what makes you happy.
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