Terrible news this past week when actress Natasha Richardson died, subsequent to what seemed to be a minor fall while learning to ski.
Such cases always spur second-guessing, and as this post at Kevin MD illustrates, this case is no different. Some people are turning this into a political football, wondering if somehow the Canadian style of national health care system is what did Ms. Richardson in. When I read the actual timeline, it seems clear that this was a case of the accumulation of a bunch of questionable human decisions every step of the way. Throw in the lack of helicopter availability in the area where they were vacationing, and in a case where time is of the essence, they lost it over and over.
The single most questioned decision has got to be: Who turned away the ambulance that arrived 17 minutes after her fall, and why did those EMTs agree to leave without even seeing the patient? The two hours lost right from the beginning is likely be all the delay required to make her situation unsalvageable.
And yet, how many of us would do the same if we felt fine, could walk, talk, etc? Well, maybe not anymore. But just in the comments and links in this BlogHer post, plenty of women share their stories of being bonked on the head and not immediately jumping to get checked out.
We can only hope that this tragic death convinces people that a head injury is nothing to ignore or "wait and see" about...hit on head? Get thee to an emergency room...stat!
One of the most trafficked posts I ever wrote here was about green phlegm. That's right. I was coughing up some, and I was wondering if that was an automatic "Go straight to Dr., do not Pass Go, and be prepared to cough up $$" symptom.
As it turns out, there was not complete agreement on the matter.
And Google searches for "green phlegm" still bring me traffic every single week.
I am in a similar situation now. Three weeks ago I started feeling a bit under the weather, and I was cursing my body out, because on February 16th I left for a trip to South Africa, my first real vacation in about 6 years. (Yes, I took many cool pictures, and you can find the links to those photo pages here on my personal blog.)
Well, a 40-hour door-to-door trip, which included about 24 hours sitting on three different planes with all of humanity, did nothing to quell my ailment. In fact, by the time we arrived in our game lodge room, I was a goner. I got in bed at about 2PM that afternoon and didn't emerge until morning.
At some point it was hard to tell where my allergies might have played a role...we were driving out in the bushlands amongst dense vegetation for about 5-6 hours a day. But the bottom line was that I had a wicked cough, an ear that never unclogged from landing, sinus congestion and pressure and sneezing. And a general fatigued, feverish feeling.
You can get cough syrup with codeine without a prescription in Africa, so my friend (who was also sick) and I did get through the trip without missing too much. But we were not at our best, and our energy was definitely depleted.
I've been back over one week now, and while I'm mostly better, I can't say I'm 100%. The cough is there, and perhaps more annoyingly, it's that tightness in the chest that is still there. You know the kind...when you have to plan your deep breaths carefully because otherwise they automatically lead to a cough. It's a dry cough, not producing much phlegm at all, but it's persistent.
And yes, I'm asking that question: After three weeks of being sick, how long do I give myself to get over this before going to the Dr.? Does this last remaining symptom get to stick around for another week? What would the doctor do about it anyway?
What would you do? And be honest...because I am well familiar with the "do as I say and go to the doctor, and not as a I do (which is never to go to the doctor) approach!!
The good news is that I can inquire about such things by using Kaiser's online message center. And they commit to get back to you within 48 hours.
The bad news is that I submitted my question last Monday and hadn't heard back at all.
The stupid news is that I discovered, when I went back online to my Member Center to fin a phone number to call, that they don't auto-email you when any of your submitted questions receive a response. No, you have to go back and check your message center proactively.
The good news is: When I actually looked my doctor's office had responded the very day I submitted the question!
The bad news is: I let a week go by waiting for an email to show up.
And while I was stewing about the lack of responsiveness, it wasn't Kaiser; it was me.
Hate it when I'm wrong :)
Anyway, called Kaiser Travel Clinic to find out what's what, and they'll be calling me back in the morning. Nobody likes shots, and it looks like I'll have to get a bunch. Hope it's worth being a human pincushion for!
I just checked into a hotel here is Las Vegas, where you definitely need A/C, even in mid-September.
The A/C is dutifully turning on and off, and every time it starts blasting air I smell mustiness. This is not pristine filtered air being forced all over my room, no, it's kind of, well, musty.
Clearly a quick Google search reveals that smelly air conditioning is a pretty common problem. The question is: is this harmful enough I should be asking to move rooms? Is there any chance the A/C would smell any better in any other room? (Probably not, is my guess.)
48 hours in Vegas, much of it to be spent outside the room at the convention center. I think i'll let it go, but it's definitely a discomforting feeling to be worried about mold in my hotel room.
Cheryl over at Yahoo! Health's Eat Right, Stay Fit blog has some tips on "surviving the food court." Surviving in terms of trying to eat healthily, that is.
I have to give her props for consistently recommending that vegetarian options will keep you on a better path.
Chinese food? Stick to the veggie dishes.
Sandwich stand? how about a veggie sandwich?
Pizza joint? Veggie toppings...and even recommends asking for "less or no" cheese!
Good recommendations all.
I confess that as a vegan it's even tougher to find choices a most food courts...it's pretty much salad or nothing. So my number one recommendation is always to be prepared and avoid the food court if you can. Eat before you go, first of all, since shopping can take a lot out of you. And carrying around snacks in your bag is never a bad plan.
Cheryl brings up one last point that's worth noting: "skip the fried tortilla chips and refried beans because they're often fried in lard." (I have to confess I rarely think of the chips being made with lard!)
But the bigger point is this: you can't always know what you're getting when you're eating out and about. And sometimes I'm not even sure I'm being told the truth, even as I'm being assured those veggies weren't grilled with butter, or that bread isn't made with eggs.
Yet, I'm also one of those people who gets a little cranky and foggy if I go to long without eating. Or you may be someone who doesn't avoid eggs for my reasons, but because you're deathly allergic.
The best way to survive the food court is probably to be prepared, and merely supplement the food court with snacks you know and trust!
I'm off to Austin, TX. My first trip there, and my first time attending SXSW Interactive, where BlogHer is co-producing five panels. I am trying Airborne for the first time. Why does it have to be something you dissolve and drink? Blech. OK, it's not compeltely foul, but it's not a fizzy delight either. You're definitely drinking medicine.
I'll let you know if this time I escape the dreaded post-air travel grunge.
Have a great weekend y'all.
And yes, I'll say y'all, even though most people say Austin isn't really Texas :)
I'm off to talk blogging for a few days and won't be seen around these here parts. Yes, I could decide to get adventurous and moblog from my mobile device. I'm just not sure my thumbs can take it! [Seriously we are going to become a race of creatures who walk on our thumbs, as every other muscle atrophies, but the thumbs become massively strong.]