Archive for December, 2008

Twitter greatest hits

// December 31st, 2008 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Twitter is a microblogging service where users share their lfe 140 characters at a time.  Here is a collection of some of my favourite December tweets.

movinmeat darwin candidate: riding in inner-tube pulled by truck, hit bump, let go of rope, crashed into building.
tjstaab To my dear 2 year olds. It’s cold so I would really appreciate it if you refrained from turning all the ceiling fans on. Thank you. Mummy.
mathewferguson I don’t believe there are more than six billion people on Earth. There’s gotta be fifty or sixty people, tops.
Michael Specht
mspecht RT @TomRaftery RT @christinelu: 20 signs your client is not ready 4 social media by @qwghlm funny because it’s true
holly_t Tapenade: 2 cans black olives, sundried tomatoes, anchovy paste, olive oil, capers, salt, 2 cloves of garlic.Spin in food processor. Heaven.
holly_t My favorite: sun dried tomatoes, garlic, goat cheese, cream cheese, herbes de provence. Give it a spin in the cuisineart. Delicious
sandnsurf Reading some great posts on - will have to get back to work shortly!
Phil Baumann
PhilBaumann Digital Pandemics: Avatars to Track Disease…#healthcampphila … geeks gonna luvz dis:
Brian Wyrick
brianwyrick Drop in your email address for PocketTales updates #swi
Darren Rowse
problogger Reading: The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words
ruraldoctoring @DrCris Brief for me, I should have said.

Take responsibility for your history, and become healthier

// December 29th, 2008 // 1 Comment » // Health

This article is part of a patient education series that I previously published elsewhere. Explanation is here. If you have already read this article, please accept my apologies.

We are having a rest here in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer holidays are an excellent time to do some health spring cleaning. I encourage you to take stock of your medical conditions, drugs and risks. This will improve you ability to have a good relationship with your doctor, and better outcomes for yourself.

How should I take stock?

This is the easiest thing in the world, but it will involve a little time. Take a paper and pencil, your favourite word-processor or one of the more technological solutions suggested below, and make three lists.

  1. List all your present and past medical conditions
  2. This includes anything you were treated for as a kid (you can leave out colds and flu’s unless they caused a hospital admission), anything you have been in hospital for, or taken long term medication for. Take a highlighter and mark those conditions that you think are still important to your health. For example, if you had a hip replacement 6 years ago, it may not cause you problems now, but you know that it might break down at some point in the future, so you still need to be aware of it.

  3. List all the medications you now take
  4. Try to work out for each medication when you are meant to take it, how many you should take and how strong the tablets/injections are. If you can, write out what the medication is for, and what other names it has. Finally, try to make a guess of how regularly you actually take the medication correctly. Remember, you are the only one that is reading this.

  5. List all the doctors and health professionals who look after you
  6. Make sure you have their contact details and write down which conditions each of them thinks they help you look after. Write down the next appointments you have with any of them. For each write down when you should make a new appointment. For example; “Make an earlier appointment with Charlie the Physio if I have worse back pain.”

Let these lists bounce around in your head for a little while to make sure they are complete and you haven’t forgotten anything. Now take a good look at your lists.

There are probably some conditions that you are not sure about, and don’t understand. Maybe there are medications you don’t know what they are for, or are forgetting to take. For those medications that you are worst at taking, make sure you know what they are meant to be treating. Check your final list to make sure all the doctors and clinics you see are listed, and you are not due for a new appointment with any of them.

What to do with your Health Audit

Once you have a good handle of all your medical problems and your list of appointment details are up to date, then find somewhere to keep that information. You might choose an old-fashioned folder in your deskdrawer, or keep the information electonrically on your computer (consider putting a password on it, in case someone steals your computer).

Another solution would be to use an online health managemnet service like Google Health, HealthVault or Revolution Health. These collate all your health information together into one archive that you can access with your web browser.

Review your information regularly

The most important next step is to make a recurring calender appointment, every month, that reminds you to update your file. This will mean you can simply grab your folder, or printout if you need to head out to a new doctor, and trust that you have everything you need.

If you have a printable or paper version, tuck it in the corner of your purse and keep it with you. This improves the care that you get - both in preventative medicine and any emergencies that occur.

I have seen this system in use and it works wonderfully. It wasn’t initiated by me, but my obstetrician when I was pregnant with my children. At the end of each office consultation, she would print out a summary of all the tests results, philosophical discussions and medications that were relevant. When I arrived for my deliveries in a state of panic and disarray, I handed the most recent print out to her, and she knew everything she needed to. It would have been the same if we ended up in a strange hospital or if her computer battery failed. It was the perfect solution to reduce my stress, and make her job easier.

Try your health audit today. Make sure there are no chinks in your knowledge and you will reap the health rewards.

Merry Christmas!

// December 24th, 2008 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I am having a lovely holiday, and as this goes live, I am enjoying my last day of work for a while. I hope you all have a merry and joyous Christmas. As a christian, this time of year is particularly special fro me. I hope you have time to get some spiritual time out this time of year.

I would like to share my favourite Christmas Video from this season, from the a cappella choir Straight No Chaser.

Merry Christmas. Have a great time with your family and loved ones. And stay safe!

Victoria doctors now only second class citizens

// December 23rd, 2008 // 2 Comments » // Rants

Since the early nineties, doctors in Victoria have been underpayed compared to their interstate colleagues. After bitter negotiations, the AMA and the Victorian government came to an agreement over a 6-28% pay rise, weighted towards registrars and consultants. Unfortunately, Victorians still can’t match up to the rest of the country.

I guess this sounds like “Poor me! I need more money.” Although a pay rise is nice, that is not the core issue here. Basically, Victorians have been discriminated against for years. Training is very fluid and nationally administered. As trainees get shifted around, you know which state gets the crap? Victoria. And where people do their training affects where they ultimately practice. So the victorian public are not getting the best of the best. They are getting some of the best (those who train here and want to stay here), and some of the rest (who are donated to Victoria from other states).

So why was the deal accepted? An offer of additional public beds and patient capacity. I think this is a nice demonstration of who the real culprits are in poor hospital access. I repeat. In order to sweeten the pay deal, the government offered them extra funding for hospital beds. This is one of the strongest indicators that the system is failing and doctors are under pressure.

Read more about the Doctors for Hospitals Campaign.