Monthly Archives: August 2010

Not the whole story

The Sister was actually home last night and had on the

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Emmys. The Sister seems to like keeping the TV volume up rather high, so I could hear it in my room. No biggie. I barely watch network TV, so I didn’t really know what most of the shows winning awards were. Let me rephrase that, I know of them but I doubt that I’ve watched them.

At one point during the commercials, an ad for United Healthcare ran. It featured people lamenting how they always have to fill out the same kind of paperwork at different doctors offices.

I groaned.

True, the paperwork is a pain for both the patient and the office staff (the latter having to try and get the patients to complete the forms)> Alas, they’re somewhat necessary (registration, privacy rules, etc)–but still a pain.

The commercial seemed to be hinting at an electronic repository of sorts of information that would be available to all providers. That would be nice from a providers standpoint. Alas, it also alluded to the idea of seamless EMR intergration.

As I’ve learned, that’s easier said than done. EMR systems for doctors are rather pricey (for the software alone–not including the hardware to host and run the systems). Include the cost of migrating to electronic records, staff training, physician training, the hours spent in training and migration. The costs add up! Furthermore in an industry where costs are rising but reimbursements are staying level or decreasing–for many a provider an EMR platform is but a dream.


Such was the subject line of an email I got today from my awesome cousin: The Curious Jew

On my post below about the Queens man “tech detoxing” in his bathroom (just scroll down–and then scroll back up to this post)–she was able to clarify

It turns out that it was the Vilna Gaon who studied mathematics in the bathroom. (I got that part right). She consulted a source who is not only leagues more knowledgeable than me, but has a much better memory as well. It turns out that the story may have been as follows:

But I heard the story that he used to study secular studies while in the bathroom. But not that he went to the bathroom to study secular studies.

Shows how shot my memory has become….

You should definitely read The Curious Jew’s blog too. She is a gifted wordsmith, whose blog is full of both stories and insightful posts about the world around. [Unlike myself (I write more in the terse science style)]

Correlation does not equal causation

Here’s a story the anti-vaccine crowd is sure to jump on:

“Finland Suspends H1N1 Vaccine

The Finnish National Institute for Health (THL) proposed suspending vaccinations for H1N1 swine flu, due to suspected links to increased narcolepsy in children and adolescents, the body announced this week.

Six cases of narcolepsy, a chronic disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and extreme fatigue, have been reported after patients had been receiving the Pandemrix vaccine.

Six cases of narcolepsy is consistent with annual averages, reports THL, but all of these patients were affected after being vaccinated, and there are nine additional cases that have not yet been confirmed.

Now since this is a mainstream media article versus a scientific publication, there are some questions that definitely need to be answered.

Was the diagnosis of Narcolepsy made by combination of history plus multiple sleep latency test?

Were any of said patients displaying any symptoms preceeding vaccination?

Did these individuals have either lumbar punctures or blood tests performed to detect the HLA-DQB1*0602.marker?
[This while not a diagnostic tool per say would however provide interesting immunological evidence]

What makes this all interesting, is that increasing research seems to be pointing towards Narcolepsy having an auto-immune origin in the body. In the simplest terms, individuals with narcolepsy commonly lack hypocretin/orexin [hcrt/ox] producing neurons. The lack of hcrt leads to a disruption in the normal neuro-chemical functioning of the brain which leads to the symptoms of the disorder. [A discussion of which is beyond the scope of this blog--however I can provide references]

Bathroom distraction

Saw this story in AMNY today:

Queens man lives in bathroom to cut off tech addiction

Odd, but not as bad as say China where they have “tech addiction camps”.

Reminds me of a story one of my Rabbis once told our class about one of the great Torah scholars (I want to say of the Middle Ages–but I can’t remember exactly). The scholar was so focused on his Torah studies, that occasionally he would take himself into the bathroom to read and learn secular subjects–namely mathematics . (I think the individual was the Vilna Gaon?)

Free Bulbs

A project came to the building called the “Manhattan Free Lighting Project” this evening and gave out free energy efficient bulbs to our building. The Sister jumped at the offer.

Free CFL bulbs…plus saving $$ from our Con-Ed Bill = Win-Win situation!

New Procrastination Tool

It was pouring and windy beyond compare today….killed any motivation I had to go outside this afternoon. The weather plus my inexpiable falling asleep on the couch that is.

So I spent some time on PubMed today–something I’ve not done in way too long. Found two papers of interest which I’ll look into later.

Pubmed–countless hours of querying fun!

Observation on the opposite gender

[Paraphrased from a conversation between me and The Sister]

Me: So Sister, are girls really always “catty” towards each other?

Sister: Yeah.

Me: Is it a trend or a constant thing

Sister: Constant. Girls can suck sometimes.

Me: Thanks for the information…

[Yes, there's a back story to all this but the details are irrelevant]


Spent most of the day asleep today. No really! Couldn’t get out of bed this AM.

When I did, let’s not go into how I felt. Then I ate some lunch and zonk! Out again.

Alas, was that not what Saturday was made for?

Better day…

So whereas yesterday I felt like crud all day…today was better.
I’m noticing a trend that on days after I train back, I feel like crud. Even lowering the intensity doesn’t help. Maybe if I drop the intensity and reps it will help? But at what sacrifice.

In my never ending quest to attempt to be “awesome”….even with the in-opportune cut on my foot, I attempted to squat. Had to abandon the lift earlier than what I would’ve liked, but squatting is a key element of being awesome.

Work was well the usual eclectic mix of chaos. Fortunately, we were able to laugh at a lot of it which helps the day go by faster.


Something that’s been on my mind as

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of late.

What is happiness? It seems to be an emotion which I have not experienced in way too long.

What does it mean to be happy? As opposed to being at ease or simply content?

Is one to actively seek out happiness or is it organic in nature and come on its own?

Don’t kill the middle-man

Been getting a lot of flack from outside parties at work recently, over things that I have zero control over.

One doctor complaining about a computer program/application not working (it was a server-side error on a remotely hosted server). So thus he had to give me an earful for it.

Some of our always enjoyable patients giving me earfuls for this reason or that–always over something that I don’t control.

No wonder I got scatter brained today at work!

12h Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Day

So today was not only Monday, but it started out with two major facilities issues.

Somehow, I’ve also become the associate vice-quasi-deputy to the director of operations/facilities (in addition to my other responsibilities). No idea though where that fits on the organizational chart.

On the plus side it does give me access to the tool room (not that

I ever use any of them, save for the occasional screwdriver. But being surrounded by powertools is awesome in and of itself).

Anyway, it was a long day at work (12+ hrs for me…last patient was at 7:30pm). I’m ready to collapse now.