A story about Mrs.W and her frustrating experiences with aging

Photo by Shashank Kumawat from Pexels

Her Story

Mrs.W, 85 years young, has 3 melanoma skin cancer spots on her face. One on her left temple, one on the bridge of her nose, and one under her right ear. She had already undergone surgery last week to remove the spot on her temple.

“I’m just a mess. Why is this happening to me?”

The bruising from the surgery had spread so much that a quarter of her face was bright red. To make matters worse, she had fallen getting up from the toilet seat. The support rails failed. …


…and it’s not to go “cold turkey”

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Always Quit With Someone

Let me explain with some numbers.

Quitting with someone means two things:

  1. Teaming up with fellow smokers
  2. Trusting a professional

Two (or more) is Better Than One

Don’t want to do something? Do it with someone. This has been the hack since the beginning. You’d drag a friend to catch a horror flick, hit the gym, or ask a girl out (back when we did it in person). Having someone there when you try to quit smoking for the 10th time would absolutely help. What’s better is if your buddies are also trying to quit.

According to a large meta-analysis conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service…


Guilty.

I’ve been turning a blind eye.

Quitting anything has to be a choice the person makes — especially with something this addicting. Persuasion and influence are your best tools, not force and rejection.

The average length of a consultation is about 15 minutes at the doctor’s office and even shorter at the pharmacy. Family doctors and pharmacists, the two most accessible healthcare professionals, can’t even persuade you to quit Doritos in 15 minutes.

Very limited amount of time was dedicated to specific topics in office visits. The median visit length was 15.7 minutes covering a median of six topics…


As discovered in the largest study of its kind.

Tired of reading? Listen here!

Simply rolling out of bed is a challenge when you’re battling depression. While sleeping in hasn’t been shown to help, doing mundane chores have.

The Lancet Psychiatry journal published a report early August 2018 suggesting this.

The study spanning 4 years and including 1.2 million participants reported an average of 43% reduction in bad days when patients exercised regularly.

They looked at 75 different forms of ‘exercise’ ranging from lawn-mowing to skiing. The less strenuous tasks, showed less benefit — of course.

A minimum of 11.8% reduction was observed which is still amazing. …


Some medications you need, some you don’t.

The Story

Last week, SJ came in begging us to organize her medications. She was taking a couple benzodiazepines, a stomach acid reducer, three thyroid pills, and an antidepressant every day.

First thing I wondered was why SJ was on 3 strengths of the same thyroid medication. Turns out she was taking 2 old strengths with the new. The same was true with her anxiety medication. She wasn’t even sure why she needed the stomach acid pills anymore. It was prescribed 30 years ago for some mild heartburn.

In one quick consult, SJ went from 7 to 3 pills a day…


A behind-the-scenes look at some of my most awesome patients.

“It’s like taking a peek behind the curtain.”

To me, the most interesting thing about working in healthcare is knowing what patients are on.

I see athletes taking blood pressure pills and professors taking dementia medications.

But the ones that stand out the most are charismatic patients taking anxiety or depression drugs. There’s such an in-your-face contrast between what you see and what you know that just shocks me every time.

“My smile is my make-up…” — Smokey Robinson

Imagine that — to have to put on a smile on for the world. Seems tedious but everyone does it from…


Dad bod was so 2015.

Tired of reading? Listen to Roger instead!

“How do I get my overweight father to exercise with me?”

You can never force a grown man to do what he doesn’t want. What you can do are these 3 simple things that can help him start if he so chooses.

Start small — really small.

First, let’s agree that exercise and diet is almost always a marathon. The only time it’s a short sprint is if he’s doing P90X for those summer abs. Exercising for 2 years doesn’t make him healthy — exercising for life does.

Now that that’s established, we have to find what lifestyle…


The truth about those childhood dreams of being a doctor.

Tired of reading? Listen to Roger instead!

Kids who dream about working in healthcare are misinformed.

What they love is patient care.

Let me explain.

Patient care is exactly that — caring for a person and their health. It can involve diagnosis, counselling, vaccinating, suturing, bandaging, and other fun stuff.

Children dreaming of being a healthcare professional lust about performing these tasks. And who can blame them? Just watch House, M.D.

Media has completely romanticized the profession. The glamour of saving lives and making a difference has blinded us from the truth.

The reality is only 30% of healthcare is…


How Can I Be So Unlucky?

“What is the explanation of me always being so unlucky in life?”

It’s far too easy to say “be more grateful”.

Reality is not everyone is born equal.

Some people start off completely handicapped, literally and figuratively.

Some people go through hardship after hardship until they’re hopeless and depressed.

Others are born rich with happy families. They live life as if the world was made to be their playground.

Equality does not inherently exist, nor should we expect it to exist.

“What can we do?”

Give up on luck. It’s never going to be on your side.

Tomorrow, fasten your…


A Case for Surging Drug Prices

“Do you think Big Pharma’s pricing policies are morally justifiable?”

Maybe it is justifiable.

It is difficult, but perhaps it is justifiable.

Let me explain.

Drug companies are companies.

People often think of healthcare as some altruistic industry where a bunch of geniuses gather and work to rid the world of diseases.

The healthcare industry, including drug companies, attracts talents that they do because it’s a great money-making machine.

Just like Apple Inc., Pfizer Inc. answers to their shareholders and pays for top talents.

However, let’s assume they don’t have to answer to anyone.

Roger Ma, PharmD

I give everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus at www.virusengine.com

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