Category: Health Care

How I Learned To Speak Fluent Geezer

These days when college students come home and seek out summer jobs, there’s a good chance that they’ll find themselves doing what has become the Main Task Of The Day, without which life as we know it would cease to exist: Data Entry.

Tippity-tap-tippity-tap. It has not always been that way, though.

In the summers following my freshman and sophomore years of college, I worked as an orderly at a nursing home in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that they would hire a skinny, inexperienced 19-year-old kid for a job that involved providing direct patient care to a very sick and fragile population.… Read the rest

“It’s a Small World?” Not Anymore

I’ve been examining patients 20 years now, and I’ve been able to gauge America’s growing trend toward obesity by how difficult it is to fit my patients into a slit lamp.

A slit lamp is the microscope that sits on a swinging table that I use to examine the front of a patient’s eyes. Back in the late 80s when I was starting out, I hardly ever recall having difficulty getting a patient into one of those. But over the years, the increasing girth of the average American belly often has a patient forcing themselves against the table and gasping for air as I try to do an exam.… Read the rest

Skinny White Guys: Wear More Deodorant and Lay Off Those Video Games

This post is dedicated to Number One Son and his roommate Zack.


For some time now, the number of women entering the health professions has been on the rise. Most entering classes in schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, etc have been comprised of around 50% women for several years.

The latest indications are that women are starting to grab a slight majority of entering slots. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, women are really starting to rule the roost. A source there informed me recently that the 2008 entering class will be comprised of 80% women.… Read the rest

What I Learned In Atlanta

I just returned from five days in Atlanta attending the Southern Educational Congress in Optometry (SECO), one of the largest optometry meetings in the world. It had been a while since I had attended so large a conference, and I discovered that I had some catching up to do. Since most of you weren’t able to go too, I decided I would share a few things that I learned:

  • Be careful if you use a hotel elliptical trainer. If the “glide” track is angled differently from the one you use at home, it can ball up your calves into knots making it extremely difficult to walk for the rest of your stay.
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Listening to My Body

I’ve been listening to my body lately, and this is what it’s been telling me:

Stop, Eyeguy, stop!

That’s right, an inflamed left Achilles tendon and a flare-up of my sciatica have knocked me out of marathon contention for this fall and left me wincing anytime I try to take a step over 4 miles per hour or so. Most of you can imagine how important an Achilles tendon is to running (as in, not optional), and for those of you who have never experienced sciatica, picture a 6-inch ice pick in the small of your back and the resulting pain which radiates from your buttocks down to your ankle.… Read the rest

Back On Schedule

The following conversation recently took place in a local health care provider’s office. All names have been deleted in order to protect confidentiality and the sacred bong bond between doctor and patient:

Doctor: “I noticed that your eye pressure is up a lot today. Have you been taking your glaucoma drops?”

Patient: “Yup, sure have Doc–religiously.”

D: “I don’t understand. Your pressure has never been this high before, and as you know, you have very bad tunnel vision from your glaucoma and you can’t afford to have your pressure stay that high for very long. Has anything else changed in your life?”… Read the rest

Tunnel Vision, Man


The following conversation recently took place in a local health care provider’s office. All names have been deleted in order to protect confidentiality and the sacred bong bond between doctor and patient:

Patient (hereafter referred to as “P”): “Doc, I’ve been havin’ these spells of tunnel vision, man.”

Doctor (hereafter referred to as “D”): “In one eye or both eyes?”

P: “Both.”

D: “How long has this been going on?”

P: “Oh, at least 5 or 6 years.” (translation: So long that he can’t really remember)

D: “How often does this happen?”

P: “Um, hard to say, pretty often I guess.”… Read the rest

E. Coli Anyone?

One of my favorite restaurants in Huntsville, Little Rosie’s Taqueria, is in a bit of hot water over the largest outbreak of E. coli poisoning in Alabama in over 20 years. Or maybe they should have used more hot water, I’m not sure.

We eat at this place a lot, so I’m not sure how we managed to dodge this particular bullet. Of course, the lawyers are closely monitoring the situation (thank God!), and health inspectors are reassuring everyone that this was an isolated incident and that in fact Little Rosie’s, in the wake of this, is probably the safest place to eat in Huntsville.… Read the rest

Primum non nocere

Several have weighed in on the troubling irony that a physician, a member of the health professions sworn to protect the well-being of others, could also moonlight as a terrorist. Here’s a sample, from the ironically cynical, to the psychological analysis, to the grinding of the usual axe.

Primum non nocere— “First do no harm.” Yes, physicians should know better. But since when did the depths of the human condition not cut across professional lines?

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Carpe Diem!

Like me, Alberto Salazar has been running most of his life (albeit considerably faster). But that blasted Reaper is still nipping at his heels.

I’ve told Eyegal that if I go out running, to please tell everyone I went out the way I wanted to. Not exactly a chariot of fire, but a fine ride nonetheless.

These days, I wear a RoadID during my workouts. Following all the identifying information is the following short, but important, message:

Carpe Diem!

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That’s Why They Call It “Practice”

student_doctors.jpgEverybody would like to think that their doctor has always been faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to diagnose and treat rare and exotic diseases in a single touch of a stethoscope. Nobody likes to think that their doctor may have actually been at one point a bumbling Barney Fife in a white coat.

But as this amusing and poignant view of early clinical training shows, chances are, they probably were. After all, that’s why they call it “practice.” My question is: why do they continue to call it that even after you graduate?… Read the rest


Malady: 45-year-old Caucasian male who should know better running 6 miles, including over a mile of hills ranging in grade from 5-15%, finishing last mile in 7:30

Rx: A 20 oz. bottle of orange Gatorade, two, no, better make that three 200mg ibuprofen tablets, deep muscle massage with one of these and whatever you want to eat, including…

copious amounts of ice cream and apple cobbler.

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What, Me Floss?

I just returned from my semiannual teeth cleaning at my dentist’s office. After 20 minutes of me suppressing my gag reflex while my hygienist rooted around in my mouth with a sandblaster, an industrial strength shop-vac, tiny pickaxe and enough gauze to wrap King Tut five times over, she declared:

“Either you’re completely fooling me or you’ve been doing much better with your flossing.”

What, me floss? Wow, a Pollyanna dental hygienist–I didn’t know they existed.

All I can say is: Ha! Gotcha!

I floss the same way that many of my patients use their glaucoma drops: that is, only during the week leading up to my next appointment.… Read the rest

Eat Fresh

The door to the late model Buick swung open and the first thing I saw was his feet.

And then, like a telescope unfolding and revealing it’s hidden length, he stood in segments; first the lower legs, next his thick thighs, followed by the elongated trunk, one arm and then the other. He was wearing an Auburn ball cap, its bill pushed back a little revealing rivulets of sweat forming on his forehead in response to the rising heat of an early Alabama summer. He was six foot seven if he was an inch. But as he pivoted toward the door of the Subway Sandwich Shop on Governors Drive, I saw that his height wasn’t his only prodigious proportion.… Read the rest