Government

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Anaphylaxis is frightening — it can and does kill people. It is an acute allergic reaction that affects about 0.5  to 2% of the population, at some point in life, and the frequency seems to be rising as we speak. Symptoms include hives and itches and swelling, which about 20% of the time can affect the upper breathing system and close the windpipe.

In theory any substance that is not included as part of the body can cause it.  I have heard about it being caused by bee stings, snake bites, foods and drugs and such. I have actually treated people for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by an allergic attack.  It is a serious stress to find your windpipe closing up and not know why. The lifesaving immediate emergency treatment is injected epinephrine (adrenaline) and getting the victim to a medical center to follow up with antihistamine and steroids as needed. My own allergies have given me some weird things over the years — lots of positive skin tests.  I used to suffer through “desensitization” protocols — allergen injections that made me sick, and prize-winning hay fever attacks. Read more on The EpiPen Mess and How To Work Around It…

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This is an update of a previous post:
http://estelletobygoldstein.com/?p=50

Science keeps changing and moving forward so quickly that even an avowed knowledge addict like me can sometimes do little more than hang on for the ride.

Back when I wrote my earlier post, I already knew for sure that I wanted to live for as close to forever as possible.  Calorie restriction had been touted as one possible way to do do so, and change in the gut flora was one possible mechanism. Read more on Update On Calories and Longevity…

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It is hard for me to digest the events of July 14 in Nice, France, as I feel especially close to them.

I was present at seven such annual patriotic ceremonies during my tenure as a student of medicine in a French government facility.  I loved the street-fair atmosphere, where I sang at the top of my lungs and danced with a whole heart.

As a medical student in government service, a terrorist attack would have mobilized me into service of France, a nation I can only love, which gave me a medical education essentially free of charge, asking only for me to prove on an exam that I had what it takes.

I wear a tiny Eiffel Tower around my neck — I stroke it as I write. Read more on Terrorism In Nice…

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I never smoked.  In my family, it was simply not an option.  My grandmother of blessed memory used to stand at the front door and kick out anybody who opened a box of cigarettes on the concrete stairs coming up to the front door, let alone anyone who actually looked as if they were or would smoke.

My father of blessed memory swore once that when he tried to bring home a buddy from Harvard who was smoking and appeared poorly dressed; my grandmother kicked him out at the door. Read more on Everybody Knows Smoking Is Bad — So Why Do Some Still Do It?…

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My telephone was cradled between my left ear and my shoulder, as I pounded the keyboard of the sluggish rural county computer with one of the requisite patient visit fill-in-the-blanks atrocities — er, I mean “reports.” Finally, I heard the person I was waiting for pick up the other end.
“Hello,” I said. “Is this doctor A…….(name unpronounceable to native speakers of English)?”
-“Yes,” he answered, “I am the only doctor here.”
“This is Doctor Goldstein. I am one of the psychiatrists at the county mental health clinic.”
-“Really? And you call me?” Read more on The County Mental Health Clinic’s Referral…

“Bureaucracy” is a word that comes from the French, which I suppose means that moi has a greater understanding of it than most folks who have never lived in France. Literally, “bureau” means “desk.”  So “bureaucracy” is “rule by desk” in the same way that “democracy” is supposed to be “rule by the people” since “demos” in Greek is “people.” Problems already. There is considerable debate possible about how much representative government can even be a democracy.  I mean, do so-called “Public Servants” vote for what their constituencies want, or for what they really believe? Desks have no soul.  Here, we are on a little firmer ground, for bureacracies have not much in the way of souls, either. The word “bureau” itself originally meant the cheap green cloth used to cover the tops of desks.  More like the felt of blotters, the coarsely woven green dyed stuff is used to cover gaming tables and such.

The Brits use the word for this sort of cloth as a metaphor for “snooker” (the billiard table game with all of those confusing balls and rules). Read more on Bureaucracy, What It Is And Why I hate It…

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Although I am an “adult psychiatrist” on paper, in reality I have seen plenty of young men who fit into my criteria of 18-or-over but to me are functionally children.

They usually think I am functionally — well, grandmother-like — so from the moment they see me they have very little interest in listening to what I say.

Granted, since I see folks who have already done something to get themselves into the mental health system, the young folks of whom I am thinking may not be an accurate cross-section of young human male humanity.

Still, they all say almost exactly the same thing.

“All I need is a job.” Read more on Boys in Late Adolescence Looking For Jobs…

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There are rich stories of human suffering all around us couched in terms of financial crisis – stories we encounter in our news media, in the streets and even in our own families.

Nevertheless things are getting worse all the time and I have been in the middle of the battle on the same losing side as the mental health patients.

I have been in the middle of mass human suffering which nobody seems to have the power to alleviate.  For many years, as the situation worsens, I have done what I could.  I have been on every front of the battle known to me and accessible to me – in community mental health centers, the VA, state prisons and private, for-profit, insurance-driven treatment centers. Read more on The Cost Of Not Caring…

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How lovely that the first lady carries the banner high – save our children through nutrition, and deliver it through public schools.

How lovely that the United States as a whole and a first lady in particular can plead for the  health and future health of children in a world dominated by politics and commercial interests that are simply not assailable with idealistic claptrap.

We may have actually achieved an amazing amount in the past few years, on this incredibly difficult task. Guess who has been saying, for a couple of years now, that any attempt to reform school lunches is in trouble?  Coca-Cola, and other large food companies that make things like frozen pizza a French fries. Read more on School Lunches Are A Mess…

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My preceptor in child psychiatry at the University of Kansas (Wichita) was easily the most respected psychiatrist in the region. Former chief of the residency training program, he was not at all the fanatically-publishing academic type I would find in psychiatric departments elsewhere.

He was eminently practical. Nearing retirement and clearly at the top of his game, he was known to be someone who really did straighten out troubled kids.

Me, there were times he gently chided me because of my theoretical and academic concerns which were not always of practical use. Read more on Responsibility for Veterans…