Why I do not trust doctors anymore? My sister’s personal experience

My youngest sister who lives in New Jersey suffers from idiopathic anaphylaxis. Her last attack was 2 months ago in May when I had my jury duty. It happened in her jobsite after a meal most probably loaded with the stuff that she is allergic to. The manager at her work place called 911. They do not have epipen, or had it but did not give it correctly so that my niece was called to deliver epipen from home.  Many minutes were wasted at that time alone. Anyway, the epipen came and the EMT injected it in my sister’s thigh. She would not wake up, became very lethargic and eventually stopped breathing, so the EMT decided to intubate her but unsuccessfully because, she was fighting and resisting intubation. When they came to the hospital finally, my sis was being bagged and they tried intubation again. Instead of checking her oxygen saturation level, the ERMD decided to intubate her, of course, she was fighting again and resisting, a clue that she was still awake. The staff gave her diprivan ( MJ’s drug) over and over again until she slept, successfully intubated my poor sister who cannot fight and resist anymore as she was totally knocked out  as if she was in a coma.

She was on the ventilator / respirator for the entire night. According to my sis she was asleep from 4pm to 7am, but could not remember much except when she was fighting with the staff when she was being intubated. The following morning, she felt that both her legs were very heavy, a symptom of rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown due to diprivan). The staff summoned the neurologist at her bedside, even he commented, ” they should have checked your O2 sat before intubating you.”  I called that Bingo! They were too aggressive, they should have waited for the epipen to work. She did not need that  intubation!

I was confident enough to say that she did not need the intubation because, she had an episode of respiratory arrest due to anaphylaxis  in my home few years back and I gave the epipen myself, just waited and she was back breathing and conscious without any problem after a few minutes. We called 911 though, just the same, as a fall back position. She was only in the hospital for a few good hours.

Another very recent experience of my sister was in the doctor’s clinic. She was summoned by the doctor, an allergist, for some skin tests, since her blood work was normal. She was given three types of  allergens. Her arms became very red, she became ill, vomited and felt warm all over, eventually complained of shortness of breathing. The MD specialist called 911, informing my sis and her family that they do not have the equipments for emergency and resuscitation. In the meantime, he said that the skin test was negative and my sister was just upset because my niece is leaving for college the next day. The Md suggested that my sis leave thru the back door of his clinic to go with the 911 staff. Of course, that would be embarrassing for his patients to see that he was not able to successfully treat my sister and has to call 911 for emergency services. While my sis was in the ER, the allergist was calling frantically asking about how she was doing. He still insisted that the skin test was negative despite my sister’s symptomatology including laryngeal edema. The ERMD mentioned, it must be “false negative”. She was given solu-medrol (anti-inflammatory) and another epipen in the the ER.

She was home after a few hours, and called me. I advised her to take benadryl  (antihistamine) 50mg as soon as possible, and repeat it in the morning if she still does not feel right.

I am too afraid now to go to the hospital. It is either because of their aggressiveness to charge my insurance or their experience is not very good or plain incompetence. I hate emergency rooms, I know better because, I was a certified ER nurse for 6 years before I became an ANP.

How to release your frustrations

The heart is the reservoir of all emotions: Love, anger, sadness, frustration, etc. etc. You do not want to have a heart attack, so, you need to unload the burden in your heart from time to time.

Some strategies I have learned to release strong emotions from my heart especially frustrations:

1. Scream at the top of your lungs. Whenever I feel frustrated, I go to my room or the bathroom and just scream until all the  steam has been released. I feel better afterwards.

2. Cursing also helps. You let out all bad emotions from your heart. Cuss to your heart content, and feel that release from your heart, but, be sure that nobody is in the room when you cuss.

3. Walk away when you know that you have been defeated. You cannot be wrong and strong.  Accept your defeat and say ” I am sorry”. Asking for an apology is also a release of emotion. You cannot be carrying a heavy heart all the time. Forgive your enemies, and move on. I forgave all my enemies but I still could not let them in  into my kingdom. I stay away from them because I do not want them to bring me down, like the crabs in a bucket!

4. Punch your pillows 100 times and act as if the pillow is your opponent. Trust me, you will feel better afterwards.

5. Divert your attention to something more productive. Go to the gym, take a walk in the park, run around your neighborhood, in short, just do something.

This will release your frustrations and the bonus is you will burn more calories so you will lose some weight without even knowing it. Now, that is the best form of releasing frustrations !

Ways to prevent medical mistakes while in the hospital

Gone are the days when the hospital is considered the best place to get treatment when you are sick. In fact, studies show that medical mistakes contribute to high mortality and morbidity every year in the USA.

There are steps to follow to avoid being a statistic or casualty of medical mistakes:

1. Educate yourself about your illness. The best consumer is the educated consumer. Read about your illness, the etiology, treatment and possible areas of consideration like surgeries, chemo and the like. Choose your doctors wisely, read their credentials carefully.                             

2. Get a second opinion, at all times. A hammer will always see everybody as a nail. So, do not get fooled by the “words of doctors”. They also make mistakes and may prescribe treatment based on their expertise. I had a lump in my left breast long time ago, the surgeon wanted to do surgery right away. I refused and seek another option/second opinion. I went to an MD of different specialization ( the breast), she just did a needle biopsy and everything went well, until now, the lump has not recurred.

3. Look up your medications in the internet and study the side-effects yourself. If the side-effect is worse than the effect, why take the drug? There are deadly side-effects that your doctor might not tell you. Some diseases do not need heavy dose drugs. Some patients die from side-effects also especially the very young and the very old. Still, it is better to know what you are taking. It is better for you in the long run, trust me.

4. Have a friend or relative by your side when you are undergoing sedation/anesthesia. Hospital staff will never accept their mistakes when worse comes to worst. They can make differential diagnosis in a rush just to cover their tracks. I used to work in the ER of a level one city hospital for six years.  Doctors and nurses are so busy that errors were always made. Needless, to say some patients became sicker or have been statistics to medical mistakes. It is very difficult to pinpoint who made the mistake in a hospital setting. When the blame game starts, the patient is always on the losing end.

5. When you are hospitalized, be sure to learn your nurse’s name or CNA’s name.  Most of the time, it helps to let the staff know your credentials, they will be more careful with their tasks with you. Let them know you are not an ordinary patient. it will make them tiptoe and watch their moves. When I was hospitalized in a very prestigious Queens hospital, I was shocked to learn some staff being disrespectful to me. The RN just asked me whether I spoke English. Well, I look and act “Asian”, so I must not speak English. When I informed her that I was an NP, she apologized right away for her behavior. From then on, I got a better treatment. The CNAs were nonchalant, they do not care who you are actually. I overheard them saying that they are just in this job for the “paycheck”.  I can interact with them, call them, let them know my needs, yet, the treatment is somewhat substandard. How much more if the patient is a lay person or in a vegetative state? Will there be somebody watching over what they do to these poor people?

6. Mark your body part to be operated on. A few instances happened when the non-diseased part have been removed. These were documented instances: wrong amputation, wrong breast removed, wrong side of the brain operated on. The outcome is devastating, especially for the wrong side of the brain, the patient came out in a vegetative state. You do not want to be in that predicament all your life: a living dead!

Aging: Very few things are beyond our control

I am not ready to look old yet. My patients told me I only look 29. To tell you the truth, I look and feel better now than when I was 35 years old. My secret: I work only one job now, plenty of sleep, stress management, maintain my weight thru wise food selection, moderate exercise ( I exercise a lot at work because I use the stairs all the time instead of using the elevator. This is my daily exercise.) Funny, but this is true. I used to belong to fancy gym memberships which i do not even use. Now, when I get the chance I go to my basement to get a real good work-out. Otherwise, stair climbing works for me.

My best secret is being happy despite any circumstances in my life. I was happy even when I was single, but happier now that I am married.  A  lot of love also helps in staying young. Studies show that married people have better longevity than single people. So, if you are married, plan to stay married all your life. It does not hurt to have a partner in your bed when you sleep. Kissing before sleeping is also very healthy. It gives you a goodnight’s dream and better REM (deep sleep). That is the time when you renew your body cells thereby, strengthening your immune system.

Kindly click on the link to give you a better perspective on how to avoid the aging process or at least slow it down. I have been practicing a few of them even before I found this link. Remember, you only have one life, one body, and you need to take care of it. Good read and good luck!


Life’s important Lessons: Simple things, the right spouse and Giving

What a person learns and leaves is as individual as his fingerprints. But I found some heartening insights into common themes in this new research from Priceless Legacy, a company that turns interviews with older adults into life stories in print or video format. An analysis of its projects shows that the top five life lessons shared by people ages 65 to 104 are:

  1. The simple things matter most.
  2. Humor and time cure most pains.
  3. There’s more satisfaction in giving than getting. Service to others is the most satisfying activity.
  4. Choose your spouse carefully. It will be your most important decision.
  5. Work hard and in a field or role that you enjoy.

I am very pleased with the above lessons. Amongst the interviewees, nobody mentioned about money and success, thus, shows that they are not that important in life. What is important are the simple things in life, ie, walks in the park, eating your favorite food no matter what it is, cuddling in the living room, hugging and smiles. A lot of smiles will win you friends, and it will ease up your day. I smile a lot, and  people really smile at me back. I am sure they did not think i am funny looking, but genuinely give back a smile or two. Smile cost nothing yet it gives you so much. Try it sometime and you will see the results!

Time heals all wounds is an adage that connotes, all things shall pass, just be patient. Laughter is the best medicine, in fact in some countries, a laughing session is being  practiced to promote health.. So let us start laughing now. HAHAAAHHA!

I started giving when I was in high school. I was poor so  the only thing I could give away were answers in our exams. Boy, I had a lot of classmates who have benefited from this. Now, that I can afford to give away some money, I see to it that I give especially to people whom I know are in dire need for food and some basic needs. I have also helped people who want to go abroad, or open some  business.  There is joy in giving. When I retire, i plan to volunteer also.

This is my favorite life lesson: choose your spouse. I have chosen the best spouse in the world. I am married to a wonderful human being, not because he is generous but because we are in love with each other. Love is very important. You should marry for love, security is only secondary. No amount of money can make you happy, but love will. However, love and happiness should come from within. You need to love and be happy with yourself. If you do not, who will ever love you? Do not expect anybody to make you happy either. You are the only one who can make yourself happy.

There was no mention about offspring or children as important in the study. It only proves that children are not important either. In fact, some people admit that their children are creating a lot of problems for them. You will never know how your kids will turn out. Lucky for some their kids are great, but could be their worst enemies, too.  So, do not brag if you have children because the study above just confirmed that they are not that important.

What is most important is that you believe in yourself. Do what you can do now for yourself and  mankind, for you will not pass this way again.

Believe in yourself. Who will ever believe you if you do not believe in yourself?


Why drug addiction is rampant in the USA (My personal experience)

The latest death of a movie star has stirred the medical world again. Who should be blamed for this actor’s death? The prescriber or the actor?

The medical and dental practitioners in the USA have a bad  habit of prescribing narcotics to their patients for simple pain.  When I had  pelvic fractures in 2004 due to an MVA, the medical intern was literally forcing me to take his prescription of Vicodin, I said, tylenol is fine for me. He said, “you are the only one refusing narcotics.”  I prescribe myself, so I know the dangers of  narcotics.

When my hubby had a tooth extraction last week, the dentist ordered Vicodin . He went to an MD for some rotator cuff injury in the same week and the doctor also prescribed a narcotic Tylenol # 3 (with codeine). If I did not know any better, my hubby could have ended up a drug addict because both medications are hightly addictive. If I were a layperson, my hubby could have taken both medications for different types of pain and can end up easily six feet below the ground.

When my hubby and I went for a cruise in 2006, I heard two prominent doctors talking about how difficult it is to practice in the USA.  Both are pain management specialists and they both agreed that it is like “pushing drugs” to patients who complain of pain. The patients themselves are also asking for narcotics even before trying a lesser kind of analgesics. The big problem is that, most people in the USA can not and will not tolerate pain. They would like to treat pain before it occurs. Their tolerance to pain is zero.

My 55-year old patient recently just died. I educated him about the dangers of polypharmacy. He was on methadone, Roxanol, ativan, MSContin and numerous medications for his co-morbidities. Guess how he died? Your guess is as good as mine.

Sleep: Enough of it will make you look younger!

If it takes you more than 15 minutes to fall asleep at night, quicken your trip to dreamland by changing what you eat in the evening. It can make the difference between staring at the ceiling and sleeping like a baby.

For years, the top food on the snooze list was turkey, because it contains sleep-inducing tryptophan (credited with all those Thanksgiving naps). But researchers have done an about-face and nixed this connection. Why? Turkey, like most foods, just doesn’t contain enough tryptophan to put you to sleep, explains Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of The Food & Mood Cookbook: Recipes for Eating Well and Feeling Your Best.

Instead, think light but high-carbohydrate snacks. Carbs boost levels of the brain’s sleep chemical serotonin without overloading your digestive system. If you like, wash them down with something warm and soothing, such as a cup of herbal tea (chamomile, lemon balm, or valerian) or warm milk.

10 top sleep boosters

Nibble on one of these 10 high-carb calmers an hour before bedtime. You’ll be yawning in no time.

  1. Half of a whole-wheat English muffin or raisin bagel drizzled with honey
  2. Two cups of air-popped popcorn
  3. A small slice of angel food cake topped with berries
  4. A frozen whole-wheat waffle, toasted, with maple syrup
  5. Half a cup of pretzels
  6. Fresh strawberries dunked in a little fat-free chocolate syrup
  7. Half a cup of pasta topped with marinara sauce
  8. A 4-ounce baked potato topped with salsa
  9. A handful of oyster crackers and a piece of fruit
  10. Canned mandarin oranges sprinkled with crystallized ginger

The benefits of sleep go well beyond good moods and lots of energy. Getting six to eight hours of sleep a night can make your Real Age as much as three years younger. (Copied only)


Philippines: Faded Glory – A plea from an OFW


Ni: Ore Hendive

Maaaring ang tulang ito ay makapagbabago
Sa laman ng utak nating mga Pilipino
Ang noong katangiang maaring maglalaho
At mawawalang tuluyan ang tatak ng lahi mo

Una sa punto ko, pagpapahalaga sa OFW
Kung kami mawalan ng trabaho, may ayuda ba ang gobyerno?
Sa taas daw ng remittances namin, ano ba ang mga proyekto?
O ang milyon-milyon naka-deposito lang, sa sariling account ng pulitiko?

Ano ba ang iniisip ng mga namumuno?
Sadya bang para sa bayan o sa kung sino ang malapit sa puso?
Palitan ba ang pagpapahalaga nang ugaling sanggano?
Sa Inang Bayang kilala noon na isang maamo?

Palaban na nga kung makikita simula noong mag-EDSA
Mula sa reheming hanggang ngayon ay tinutuligsa
Subalit ang kinalabasan, ang laki ng pagkakaiba
Ugali ng bawat Pilipino ngayon ay kanya-kanya.

Kanino nga ba kami umaasa kundi sa sarili na lang
Itanong nga kung may pag-asa pang makukuha sa bayan
Milyon-milyon ngayon ang umaalis ng bansa
Dahil hindi trabaho lamang ang kulang kundi tiyan ay kumakalam.

Ngayon ako ay narito sa bayang gitna ng disyerto, Walang tubig walang kagubatan subalit kay daming Pilipino

Ore Hendive

Ngayon ako ay narito sa bayang gitna ng disyerto
Walang tubig, walang kagubatan subalit kay daming Pilipino
Kumikita ng higit pa, kesa doon sa bayan ko
Na mas sagana sa likas na yaman at matatalinong mga tao

Kanino ba dapat magsimula ang isang pagbabago?
Sa gobyerno ba ang pagkukulang o sa ating pagkatao?
Ang RESPETO sa sarili at sa kapwa mamamayan
Ang pagtulungang pasidlakin ang dumidilim na kasarinlan.

Gumising ka Pilipino, bumangon na Pilipinas ko
Huwag hayaan mawala ang ugaling dati ay nakakamangha
Tayo’y lumulobo, dumadami, at sa kung saan na lang nagsisipunta
At dumudikit sa kung sino-sinong bansa na parang mga linta.

Ito ba ang sagot sa isang natamong demokrasya?
Pulitikong ’di nagkakaisa, Pilipinong saan-saan nagsisipunta?
Kumakalam na tiyan, lumulubong mamamayan
At winalang bahala na ang kanyang dating kagandahan?

Pilipinas, Perlas ng Silanganan
Sa anong paraan ko na makikita ang iyong kinang?
Nitong henerasyon na iba na ang mahalaga
Binabalot, tinatakpan sa lilim ng mga mapagsamantala.

Kahit ikaw ay matibay, lumalaban sa hamon ng panahon
Gasgas mo’y dumadami, halaga mo’y tumatamlay
Ligaya ngayo’y pansamantala na lamang at nababalutan ng ingay
Nang mga reklamong sa tenga’y lumalabas, sa hangin sumasabay

Ang dating bantayog ng iyong Lupang Hinirang
Ngayo’y humihina sa mga panaghoy ng kapatagan
Marupok na ang haligi na dati’y sandigan
Mamamayan ngayo’y palaboy sa kung saan may mapagkakakitaan

Di ba’t hangarin natin ang magiliw na bayan?
Kaya alab ng puso ay ating ipanumbalik
Panatang huwag sana nating iwaglit
Sa nagbabagong panahong lalong humihigpit.

Hangad ko ang isang pagbabago na ’di kailangang ipaalala
Sa isipan mo kabayan na may malawak na pag-unawa
Tanungin ang sarili kung ikaw pa ba ay Pilipino?
Sa isip, sa salita, sa gawa, sa kapwa at sa bayan mo?

Sa mga namamahala sa ating gobyerno
Nawa’y ang kaban, gamitin sa wasto
Nang manumbalik ang ganda ng himig ng ating musika
At ang Panatang Makabayang sinasambit ng bawat isa.

Bandilang itinaas iba na kung pagmasdan
Bughaw nya ay hindi na kasing kristal ng karagatan
Tingkad ng pula unti-unting pumupusyaw
Puti nya’y may dungis, sinag ng araw lumilihis

Hawak natin kabayan ang totoong pagbabago
Sa isipan, sa damdamin at buong pagkatao
Bayan mo’y sumasamo, sa mga pald mo umaasa
Manumbalik ang kulay sa kupas nating bandila.

In a Nutshell: How to be successful

“Choice, not circumstances, determines your success.” Anonymous

I consider myself successful at this time. How did i become successful? Let me count the ways:

1. It is my choice to come to the USA  after a very bad experience in Saudi Arabia. I have to leave my loved ones behind just to seek greener pastures and make a better life. While in the USA, I worked three jobs just to make ends meet. I saw to it that I have savings for the rainy days and emergencies.

2. I went back to school. Despite the 3 jobs I had, I went back to get my master’s degree in Nursing. I do not know how I did it, but I did. I did not stop there, I continued for a post-master’s certificate program to become an advanced practice nurse (Adult nurse practitioner). I sacrificed a lot, did not have time for vacation and fun at that time. Boy, my grade point average was 4.0 (equal to 1.0 in the Philippines.) I would rarely go out to eat and buy clothes for myself. I was always on a budget. But, I always had money.

Dave Ramsey said, ” live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later”. I followed his advice, now I am enjoying the fruits of my labor.

3. Have a budget for spending, saving and giving. You do not need to be rich or wealthy  to give, just give what you can and forget about it. Lending money is futile, you will end up the bad person when you try to  collect. So give, because, there is joy in giving.

4. Choose your friends wisely. You need to cut friends whose motive is to bring you down. This is called “crab  mentality”, which is common in the Philippine culture. You see, you can not be too successful without anybody getting jealous. This is reality, people get jealous. It is a universal feeling. Stay away from anybody who has a negative personality. You want your friends to be positive all the time especially when there is hardship in life and recession. People, even strangers will unite for a common cause. A good example is DEADBOL- the group I belong. I have met members only in the internet, and lo and behold, we realize, our personalities jibe and are now more connected than just for a ’cause”.

5. Success is relative, no matter how successful you are, others might think you aren’t. I consider myself successful, but, I do not have everything, so that I still have something to look forward to in life, besides, I need to have a reason to get up early in the morning.