Among hospice staff, it is called “getting it.” One says, “He doesn’t get it,” “I think she gets it,” or, “They definitely get it.” It is a little hard to define, but as with pornography, you know it when you see it.   Nonetheless, given the importance of “getting” good end-of-life care, let us take a moment to try and explain. The 92-year-old patient is bleeding into her head, but has blood ...

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As a registered nurse and health care writer and editor for more than 25 years, I routinely wrote or assigned stories to other writers about the health of LGBT individuals.  I valued these stories not only because I was a nurse, but also because I thought the subject was worthy of coverage. I believed our nurse readers should be aware of the specific health needs of their LGBT patients. I followed ...

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A 42-year-old patient arrived for her annual gynecologist appointment complaining of a self-detected breast lump. She had several questions about her condition and wanted to tell her doctor about a family history of breast cancer.  The doctor was in a hurry and advised her to ask the staff, but the staff was busy with other patients and told her to call them later. The patient did not call. The gynecologist ordered ...

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Many of us who suffer from chronic pain and illness are on medications that carry side effects that, in some cases, can be as difficult to cope with as our initial health problems. I’ve recently started a medication that I’m scheduled to be on for five years. I’m taking it because it significantly reduces the risk of a recurrence of my recent bout with breast cancer. And so, yes, I’m taking ...

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Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Guastavino often alludes to his "rules of medicine" in the comments.  Here they are in their entirety. Efficacy, safety, and cost are of chief concern. If two treatments are of equal efficacy, choose the safer. If of equal efficacy and safety, choose the cheaper. Cost never trumps efficacy or safety. If you want the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective care, go to the physician with the most experience in dealing ...

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Dear medical professionals: We need to talk. I know I walk into your office fearing the worst of you, and I suspect that you may have some hesitation about some of your patients. (Need I say, "frequent flyers?") We both have baggage. You have your patient horror stories. I -- as a female patient with fibromyalgia and mental health issues -- have mine. My mom is a nurse, so I've grown up with ...

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11045478_742642892507962_670861048466897224_n I can’t tell you how many people have flung this Facebook item at me since last night, starting with my wife. It’s already approaching 25,000 shares. Listen, people: Googling does not mean I think I’m a doctor. It’s a sign of being an engaged, empowered “e-patient.” I partner with great doctors -- I don’t tell them what to do. And they welcome me doing it. I personally am completely ...

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I was attending a 50th birthday party for a friend of mine, when I struck up a conversation with someone I had never met. The conversation, of course, was with a woman who seemed genuinely interested in my quest to make air travel safer for those with food allergies. I told her how my family often receives dirty looks from other passengers when we pre-board a plane to wipe down ...

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Here’s the most distressing piece of unsolicited advice I’ve received to date. It showed up in my Inbox two days after I’d completed a course of radiation for breast cancer. The email was in response to an article I’d written about this new, unexpected turn my life had taken; the article included the fact that, at the time, I was in the middle of a course of radiation treatment. Here’s ...

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An excerpt from How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Copyright 2015 by Toni Bernhard. Excerpted with permission from Wisdom Publications. "Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept the way things are." - Karen Maezen Miller A well-known Buddhist story known as the Mustard Seed helped me ...

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