October 22, 2019

Sometimes a watch is just a watch.

The advances in health care technology are mind-melting. But have we really developed a simple add-on to your watch that will alert you when your heart is out of rhythm? Hmmm. Just watch. 

October 8, 2019

I'm not psychic, but I do know stuff

There's no question that provider shortages are peeking over the horizon. But what about the here and now? Do we have all the primary care physicians we need?  You might be surprised to learn how where you live influences how long you liveJust watch.

September 24, 2019

For your next BP reading, first go to your Zen place . . .

Have you ever heard of White Coat Hypertension or White Coat Syndrome? Ever experienced an unusually high blood pressure reading in a doctor's office--higher than anywhere else--and wondered why?  Just watch. Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on White Coat Hypertension

September 10, 2019

If you can't trust the government, then I just don't know . . .

With Baby Boomers being health care providers as well as patients, won't their mass retirements cause a shortage in the health care labor force? Good question. Just watch.

August 27, 2019

Get your vaccinations, you big baby!

Among the many medical advances of the past few decades, the prevention of some otherwise nasty--possibly fatal--diseases is one of the biggies. Can a shot in the arm really keep you from getting a cancer? Just watch. Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on vaccinations.

August 13, 2019

How intense is Intensive Care?

Intensive Care, also called Critical Care, is for those with life-threatening injuries and illnesses, and implies close, constant attention by a team of specially-trained health care providers. How does modern medicine define "intensive"? Just watch. Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on tele-ICUs.

July 30, 2019

Is Osteoporosis just a chick thing?

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." It's a disease causing weak or brittle bones that may more easily break from a fall, a bump or even just coughing. What causes osteoporosis? Other illnesses, medications, family history, age and even race can affect risk. Because hormones may have an impact, we often think of osteoporosis as exclusively for women. Not really. Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on Osteoporosis

July 16, 2019

Siri is way smarter than Alexa, right?

It's so darn handy to ask those go-to gals, Siri and Alexa, for information on the fly or to turn on the living room lights. Are they equally qualified to answer your health care questions? Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on Siri and Alexa

July 2, 2019

It takes a village to prevent ADEs

An Adverse Drug Event (ADE) is unintended, unexpected and/or dangerous harm from the use of medications (prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and supplements). Because there's loads of potential causes for ADEs, how can we best prevent them? Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on Adverse Drug Events

June 25, 2019

To Alice Cooper and my Million Dollar breakfast

[I'm revisiting this blog post, originally published on July 13, 2014.]

Last Friday, I had a breakfast meeting and I arrived early because you can never be sure about the traffic and I just figured I'd read the paper and have a coffee while waiting for my companions.  At the only other occupied table in the hotel cafe' sat three gentlemen. I thought, "I wonder if that man knows how much he looks like Alice Cooper."  And the more I discreetly stared, the more I thought maybe it really was him but, you know, it seemed so very unlikely that Alice Cooper would be having breakfast in a hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa that I didn't trust my judgment.  So I asked the waiter and he smiled and confirmed that it was, indeed, Alice Cooper. (Okay, I guess I'm not as hip as I thought I was, since I didn't know he was performing at the Wells Fargo Arena that night.)

And then I did what I always swore I would never do to a celebrity:  I interrupted his meal.  I turned into a gawking sycophant and I went over to that table and I said, "I always said I would never do this but I just wanted to thank you for 'Mary Ann.'"  And a young rocker at his table clearly didn't know what I meant and he asked if I was Mary Ann but Alice Cooper knew exactly what I meant and right there and then he sang the first line of that wonderful song.  Alice Cooper sang to me. And I said, "God, I miss the '70's" and Alice said he did, too. And then he said, "They tell me I was there."

Over the past three days, I've thought a lot about that chance meeting. Tomorrow is my birthday. Later this month, it would have been the 39th anniversary of my marriage to Roy Z. Fort.  We had been married barely four years when he died, in 1979. I was 28, he was 29.

At the time of Roy's death, we had two copies of Alice Cooper's "Million Dollar Baby" in our record collection--we each brought one into the marriage.  A few years ago, I bought the CD as well so I could listen to it in the car. Clearly, we liked that album and all it represented about the 1970's and having fun and good friends and rocking out and being young.

Meeting Alice Cooper was no coincidence.  It was a bittersweet reminder that time is so fleeting, that 35 years can fly by, and that the loved ones who are no longer with us are always with us.

Thanks, Alice. And thanks, RoyBoy. And Happy Anniversary.

June 18, 2019

Seen one patient, seen 'em all?

Preventive care and periodic screening tests are crucial in detecting--and hopefully treating--medical conditions in their early stages. Can my annual checkup be just the same as yours? Well, that all depends on our ages, life experiences and family histories. Just watch 
Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on unique preventive care.

June 4, 2019

No advance directives? No big deal, right?

Advance directives are a record of 1) your appointed substitute medical decision maker if you lose capacity and 2) your wishes for care if you are terminally ill or irreversibly unconscious. But it's okay if you blow this off, because your state's law will recognize a loved one to step in as your advocate, right? Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on Elder Orphans.

May 28, 2019

"Praemonitus, praemunitus": To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

A fundamental of health literacy is preventive care--doing what we can to head off health care issues at the pass. It seems so logical. Wouldn't anyone prefer to spot a problem as soon as possible in order to treat it as effectively as possible? Maybe. Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT VIDEO on Preventive Care.

May 24, 2019

Tsk tsk on the ancestor shaming

Sometimes ancestors can be the convenient scapegoat for bumps in life's road. It's tempting to gaze around at the family reunion and think, "Well, it's easy to see where I got my [fill in the blank]."

Is having a chronic medical condition one of those times? Just watch Jo's VERY SHORT video on genetics vs. lifestyle choices to learn. 

May 15, 2019

Seriously? Is anybody listening?

This is more than a little disturbing. Iowa's position in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings fell from No. 1 to No. 14 overall, and from No. 3 to No. 20 in the "Health Care" category. Best States RankingsConsidering that "health care" and "elder issues" were  conspicuous by their absence from both the Governor's Wish List and her I Got My Wish List, this is not really surprising.

When older Iowans gather, they talk about 1) their health and 2) how politics, taxes and the weather affect their health. By 2030, Iowa will be home to 144,000 more seniors than today. That means even greater demands on a health care system already straining to meet Iowans' needs. 

Is anyone listening?