Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What's Up Doc?

"Oh, you dubbuh-cwossing wabbit! As many of you know, the first "true" appearance of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd occurred in 1940. Elmer is a dimwitted hunter, "wooking for wabbits." Bugs is clever, smooth-talking character, who confuses Elmer with double-talk and misdirection. Elmer is no match for the wascally wabbit.

This morning we rose a carrott in honor of Bugs Bunny. Not only did Bugs outsmart Elmer, but Bugs seems to outsmart my Tucker nearly every morning. I can't help but to wonder if Tucker knows those wascally wabbits cannot be caught.

I heard Tucker squeeling a couple blocks away. Say, have you seen a wabbit wun by here? asked my little if he is going to get an answer from the doves. Finally, my little guy comes running up the sidewalk at full speed ahead. He bites his sister in the butt, and keeps on moving.

The wabbits have been in my yard as well. Sometimes they seem to appear out of nowhere. What's Up Doc? Oh, you wascally wabbit, I have seen you in my landscape...eating in my all-you-can-eat-buffet. They have devoured my spring flowers including some of my summer blooms. My consolation is that they are eating everyone's garden.

One day, Mr. Wabbit, Tucker and I will get you...Be vewy vewy qwiet. I'm hunting wabbits!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Insurance Is About Protecting Against Risk

Rather than using insurance to subsidize the consumption of all medical care, Americans should use it only for catastrophic expenses.

By George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas and John F. Cogan
January 5, 2014

As the acute problems of the Affordable Care Act become increasingly apparent, it also has become clear that we need new ways of ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans. We should begin with an examination of health insurance.
Insurance is about protecting against risk. In the health arena, the risk at issue is of large and unexpected medical expenses. The proper role of health insurance should be to finance necessary and expensive medical services without the patient incurring devastating financial consequences.
Over the last decade, however, Americans have come to expect their health insurance to subsidize the consumption of all medical care. Rather than simply protecting against financial catastrophe, insurance has become a pass-through mechanism to pay for every type of medical service, including routine ones.
This shift in expectation has meant that health insurance stands out as entirely different from all other types of insurance. Ask yourself: Would you use automobile insurance to buy gasoline? Would you use homeowner insurance to finance painting your house?
This wrongheaded view has played an important role in contributing to rapidly rising healthcare costs. Patients with insurance do not perceive themselves as paying for the cost of routine services, nor do their physicians and other healthcare providers. The natural result has been a more-is-better approach, with patients and doctors embracing costly healthcare services that are often of little value to the patient. Given healthcare's crucial role in well-being, it is important to assist individuals who can't afford even routine medical expenses, but it shouldn't be done through hidden insurance subsidies.
The entire concept of health insurance must be reconsidered. One attractive option for insuring those in need would be to expand the use of high-deductible health plans in combination with health savings accounts. This approach provides a cost-effective vehicle for insuring against catastrophic medical expenses while simultaneously helping individuals defray the costs of routine medical care.
Such coverage protects individuals from losing a lifetime of assets and from the devastating consequence of financial bankruptcy due to unpaid hospital and associated medical bills, a contributor to financial stress for millions of Americans every year. Such coverage means less-costly insurance policies, since they cover only major expenses and thereby reduce the bureaucracy and expense of smaller claims. And, with high deductibles, the hidden prices of medical care become far more visible, a necessity for containing costs. Price transparency coupled with greater availability of accurate information on health outcomes and provider quality are essential if patients are to choose healthcare services based on value.
Combining high-deductible insurance with health savings accounts provides a way to help individuals defray the costs of necessary, but routine, medical expenses. Such savings accounts allow individuals to set aside money tax-free to purchase immediate or future medical care.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ask Dr. J—Coffee and LDL

Ask Dr. J—Coffee

Question: Can drinking too much coffee raise LDL (bad) cholesterol?

Answer: This is a good question, especially since I am a coffee lover! Actually, this raise in LDL cholesterol only applies to boiled or unfiltered coffee. A raise in LDL is not the result of caffeine, but rather, by the ingredients in the coffee. In fact, the LDL is only raised when the coffee grounds have been brewed for a long period of time, or when brewed coffee has been left to sit at high temperatures for long periods of time.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Diabetes REVIEW

If you have diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, it's critical that you carefully control your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar over time damages the blood vessels and nerves in your legs and feet. Fortunately, a good diet and regular, moderate intensity exercise can help improve your body's use of insulin, get your weight under control, and improve blood sugar.

Adopting healthy eating and exercise habits is "tremendously important" because it keeps blood glucose (blood sugar) levels under control. Lifestyle changes can prevent the development and slow the progression of microvascular complications. In addition, exercise like walking can relieve the pain, probably because it improves circulation.

To change your lifestyle:

  • Get regular physical activity. Aside from helping you reach and maintain a healthy weight, exercise also improves the body's use of insulin and improves circulation. It also strengthens muscles, which improves coordination and balance in muscles that may have been weakened due to decreased nerve activity. Get started on an exercise program that won't be hard on your feet -- like walking, swimming, biking, or yoga. You may need to limit exercises that do stress your feet, such as running or aerobics. People with neuropathy -- especially those with bone deformities -- should always wear well-fitted shoes to avoid pressure sores and ulcers on the feet.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking makes circulatory problems worse, which is thought to be one cause of neuropathy, and worsen the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Smoking also greatly increases the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
  • Carefully limit alcohol. Excess alcohol intake can worsen neuropathy and make it hard to control your blood sugar levels.

Eat a Balanced Diet:

To keep blood sugar as close to normal as possible, it's important to follow the right meal plan. A well-balanced diet can make a big difference. You might want to consult with your doctor or a dietitian to learn what foods are best, when to eat, how much to have of each food, and what to avoid.

You will need to keep close track of the carbohydrates you eat since they have the most immediate effect on your blood sugar. Carbohydrates are in these food groups:

  • Fruit
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Bread, cereal, rice, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables

You should eat plenty of fiber since it plays a role in the digestive process, reduces heart disease risk, and can improve blood sugars. Choose from:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cooked dried beans and peas
  • Whole grain breads, cereals, and crackers
  • Brown rice
  • Bran products

It's important to eat foods that are low in fat. Good choices are:

  • Lean meats. Bake, broil, grill, roast, or boil - never fry
  • Low-fat dairy. That includes cheese milk, yogurt
  • Low-fat vegetable cooking spray
  • Low-fat margarines and salad dressings

Avoid high-sodium foods, which can cause high blood pressure:

  • Salt
  • Boxed mixes of potatoes, rice, pasta
  • Canned meats
  • Canned soups and vegetables
  • Processed and packaged foods (lunch meat, sausage, bacon ham)
  • Salty snack foods

Monday, August 05, 2013

Are YOU a Champion? 

The dictionary definition of a champion is a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition. My personal favorite definition, is to "live your life in your own way, to reach for the goals you have set for yourself, and to be the YOU that you want to be."

What makes a champion? I bet you know a champion. Are they your neighbor, your co-worker, your family member? Is it Mary Lou Retton, Kelly Clarkson, a pastor, a doctor, a nurse?

I want you to imagine yourself right now as a champion...go ahead, close your eyes, and imagine what it would look like to be a champion. No, I do not want to hear you say, "I am not good at anything. " Now go ahead, close your eyes. I want you to imagine what it looks like to be a champion.  This may take a little time. I want you to find a quiet place. There must be no distractions. Make a list in your head of all your talents.

I can see that it is not hard for you to list the talents if you are a top speed skater, a pro basketball player, a famous artist. Are you the fastest runner on your team?  Have you won All-conference honors on your basketball team? Did you qualify for the National Golf team? Are you an award-winning novelist? Do people naturally gravitate toward you because you are a natural leader?

Ok, that is a great start. Next, I want you to list those talents you have that are a little deeper inside. You know they exist! These are the talents that you have kept hiding and are not being fully utilized. Keep this list because we will refer back to it.

Now, picture you are looking for someone to join your team. You are looking for a champion. It can be your softball team, your rowing team, your debate team, etc. When you pick your teammate, are you looking at their "gifts" that are obvious? For example, are you looking at the person's gifts and projecting those into the future? They have talent now so they will be my champion in the future. Or are you thinking that person has a lot of potential and with hard work, passion, discipline, commitment and good instruction, that person can be an amazing teammate?

Its okay, there is not a right answer. I just want you to be aware that many people who have amazing talents, never reach their full potential, so you may have passed up the true champion who was ready, willing, and able to be your student. It might have been you...with all your "hidden" talents that were not being utilized.

I ask you again, "Are you a Champion?" More importantly, "Can you pick the champion?" I will tell you this one thing to be more true now then ever before...the kind of feedback students get from the people who evaluate them (their parents, their teachers, their coaches) makes the difference between finding a champion or finding someone who is not. Specifically, champions are found when evaluating the process (e.g., effort, learning) as opposed to a focus on the person (e.g., talent or ability).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dreaming Really, Really, BIG!

"The greatest discovery of the 19th century was not in the realm of the physical sciences, but the power of the subconscious mind touched by faith. Any individual can tap into an eternal reservoir of power that will enable them to overcome any problem that may arise. All weaknesses can be overcome, bodily healing, financial independence, spiritual awakening, and prosperity beyond your wildest dreams. This is the superstructure of happiness." – William James, Harvard Psychologist, the Father of American Psychology.

William James (1842-1910) stated that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking. This process of forming a picture in our minds is often referred to as visualization and is based on the biblical idea, "As you think, so shall ye be."

And so, this 1800's idea is a driving force today when discussing the pursuit of excellence. To achieve your potential, somewhere deep in your core you have to create the belief that you can do it. By dreaming about your BIG dream, and focusing on your daily goals (the little steps), you nourish your commitment, your confidence, and your belief in your ability to achieve.

Even if you never make it to your ultimate goal, your dream of getting there inspires you to be better than you otherwise would be.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The IronLady

From one "Iron Lady" referring to THE "Iron Lady" it is hard not to feel sadness. Margaret Thatcher passed away today. Her character, philosophy and achievements made her one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers. The world has lost a true champion of freedom and democracy.

Margaret Thatcher fought socialism in England and unyieldingly promoted free-market views. She put a stop to the British labor unions and strongly believed in a limited government by lowering spending and taxation.

Ronald Regean and Margaret Thatcher were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism. As Prime Minister, Thatcher had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to “rock the boat.” As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.

Mrs. Thatcher famously said, “The trouble with socialists is that they always run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher once said that her competition would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich. That way you will never create the wealth for better social statuses. In a system of free trade and free markets poor countries – and poor people – are not poor because others are rich. Indeed, if others became less rich the poor would in all probability become still poorer."

I have listened to many speeches by Margaret Thather and one which hits home with me is this: “I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

The magnificence of Thatcher was her refusal to accept the conventional wisdom of her age...her refusal to conform. History will enshrine Margaret Thatcher as a transformational leader who helped defeat communism, promote freedom, and bring hope to the oppressed. Her penetrating words and compelling vision will last for generations.



When God created you, He deposited in you everything that you need in order to fulfill your calling. He gave you the desire and the ability. He equipped you with gifts and talents. No dream is too big. No challenge is too great.