Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Like It Hot.

I went to my first Bikram Yoga class on Thursday.  In short, Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga poses performed in a room that is heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity (!).

I've done other types of yoga before (mostly Hatha Yoga).  To be honest, I never really enjoyed it that much.  I definitely feel it's beneficial- it promotes balance and flexibility.  What I had trouble with was the whole meditation/relaxation aspect of it.  I'm rather...Type A (to put it mildly), and always had a hard time just sitting and breathing.  My mind just starts running to the millions of other things I need to be doing, and I get all agitated...which probably means I really SHOULD be doing yoga on a regular basis, but oh, well.

I will say that I enjoyed the Bikram class, and I think I might start going on a regular basis.  Like many runners, I tend to get a bit lazy about stretching, and this class certainly will cure that problem.  The heat of the room does seem to make stretching easier.  What I found really interesting was that I didn't feel like I was working out that hard during the class, but boy was I sore the next day!

So, here's my overall opinion of the pros and cons of Bikram:

Pros:  The heat does promote muscle flexibility.
           The postures hit all the major muscle groups.
           There is an emphasis on balance and core strengthening.
           You get into an aerobic state just by virtue of your heart rate increasing from the heat and             dehydration.

Cons:  It's easy to overdo it- maybe too easy.  Forcing a stretch can definitely lead to injury.
            Dehydration is a definite risk.
           Anyone on blood pressure medications, diuretics, or medications that interfere with sweating (antihistamines, especially) should not do this.
            Anyone with a history of cardiac disease or lung disease should not do this.
            Anyone who is pregnant should not do this.
           
So, I'll be attending some more sessions- we'll see how it works out.

*A big shout out and thanks to Becky for getting me started!*

         

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Plague on My House

I haven't blogged in over a week.  That's because I've been dealing with sick kids.  Poor Matthew got the horrible cold that's been going around and has just been miserable...consequently everyone else in the house is also miserable and not sleeping.

Just as Matthew was starting to get better, Alex started vomiting.  First into the toilet, then on the couch, then on me, then in my bed.  Good times.

Now I have pinkeye.

My patients always ask me, "How do you avoid getting sick?" The answer is...I don't. 

TGIF, and looking forward to the long weekend.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Behind the Scenes- Watch an Insurance Company Try to Drive Me Insane

I've blogged before about prior authorization forms that insurance companies make me fill out all. the. time.  Here's another fun thing that I encounter on a regular basis.


Now, on the surface this looks like a run-of-the-mill form to approve Crestor.  There's a backstory here, however.  This patient had been on Lipitor, and her cholesterol was well-controlled on it.  At her last visit she gave me a notice from her insurance company saying that they will no longer be covering Lipitor but will cover Crestor.  So, I changed her to Crestor at their request. Now- wait for it- they want me to fill out an approval form for a medication change that was initiated by them in the first place!!!

This is why every day I discover more and more gray hairs...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

'Tis the Season...

The season for colds and flu, that is.

I'm just putting this out there in black and white, so that everyone can see it.  I'm even going to italicize it, so that you know I really, really mean it.  Here goes...

I can't cure your cold.  I can't even make it go away faster than it would on its own.  Even if you have a vacation in two days and you're flying to the Caribbean and don't want to be sick- I STILL can't make it better.


There.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Colds are caused by a virus, not a bacterium.  This means that antibiotics will not work for them.  Bronchitis typically does not need an antibiotic either- it gets better on its own.  Likewise sinusitis.

A cold typically lasts 10 to 14 days.  A cough from bronchitis can last for weeks, and sometime a few months.  Sinus pain and pressure can last for weeks.  A cough does not means that antibiotics are needed.  Green mucus is not a sign of a bacterial infection- that's just the color of mucus.  A fever doesn't mean an antibiotic is needed.  I highly recommend that everyone read this.  It's a link to the CDC Get Smart Homepage, and is chock-full of great information about antibiotics.

Certain over the counter cold medications can be helpful.  For those without high blood pressure, Sudafed is my top choice.  Nasal saline rinses are almost always helpful.

Now, I never mind people coming into my office to get their cold checked out.  I'd hate for someone to be worried that their cold might be something more than just a virus.  It's never a waste of my time- I'd rather someone get checked out than worry, and sometimes someone actually has an ear infection or pneumonia. Even if it's not something like that, I typically will be able to give individualized advice about dealing with the symptoms.   However, I do ask that people trust my judgement.  Don't get angry with me if I won't give antibiotics.  I never give them just to appease someone- I only give them if they're needed.  And please, don't get angry with me if you're still sick in a week- that's typical.  It stinks, I know.  It's just how it is.  If I find the cure for the common cold, I promise, my patients will be the first to know!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Great Running App

The last app I reviewed was RunKeeper, which I still love.  However, if you want to spring for the $1.99, check out the Nike+GPS app.  I'm really enjoying this one.  It lets me sync my iTunes playlist with the app itself, so I can navigate through songs without exiting the program.

It also has a neat little feature called "PowerSongs".  At any point during the run, I can hit the PowerSong button and an "inspirational" song that I've chosen in advance starts playing.  It's pretty cool- I might be dragging towards the end of a run, and I all need to do is hit a button and Gloria Gaynor's singing "I Will Survive."  Perfect!

I can also run against friends (virtually, of course), and post my results for the world to see on Facebook or Twitter.  I can challenge myself by setting the app to prompt me to beat my best time or distance.  The best part- when I post a personal record, Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe comes on to congratulate me!

All in all- I think this is my new favorite.