That’s where I’d go to cry…

A few months ago, I underwent surprise heart surgery to repair my mitral valve (it was leaking in a major way). I have the explanation that I give to people that ask about it down pat. I vainly make sure they know it wasn’t a heart attack, that I don’t have clogged arteries, that it was a genetic defect, that in all other ways I’m completely healthy, that it wasn’t my fault. I am not shy about it when they ask.

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And ask they do. “How are you feeling?” “What happened?” “Do you have any restrictions?”  And comment. “We really missed you”. “It is so good to have you back”. “My husband had something very similar; feel free to call him if you have any questions”. (I never did). “You look great”. “I’m so impressed at how quickly you’re recovering”. “You do a 5k every day? That’s great!” “Wow, I didn’t expect to see you back at the boxing gym so soon”.  “You’re coaching soccer again! That’s great!” “How are you feeling?” The support and good sentiments have been overwhelming. People at work, people on facebook, neighbors, friends, family. They all let me know how much they care and I really appreciate all of it. But that’s not what I wanted to share just now.

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My wife, Susan, has been a rock during all of this. She really kept it all together: watched over me while I was in the hospital, kept the kids grounded, waited for me during during my diagnostic and repair surgeries, and took care of me when I got home. And while having surgery (and particularly cardiac surgery) is a scarey thing, I think it is much worse for the significant others than for the actual patient. This was brought home to me when during a post surgery checkup at the hospital, I noted a bank of windows along a corridor that I hadn’t noticed before and commented on them to Sue (who had driven me and accompanied me to the appointment). She looked sadly at me and told me, “Yeah, that’s where I’d go to cry”. I looked at her, a little bit startled.

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She had to see me with heart monitors, oxygen masks, eKG leads, tubes, tubes, and more tubes all coming out of me. She had to watch them prep me for procedures. She had to wait while I was in surgery. For. Six. Hours.  She had to go home and explain to preteen children what was going on without unduly scaring them. She had to keep it all together for them. She had to contemplate the prospect that she might be planning a funeral shortly. She had to spend time beating herself up with guilt over symptoms that neither of us noticed in the moment, but suddenly remembered in retrospect.  After I was home,  she had to help me into and out of the shower, get things for me,  drive me places, help me on the stairs, see me in my weakened state. She spent a lot of time blaming herself for something that wasn’t her fault.

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So she saved most of her crying for that lonely hospital corridor.

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Like me, she gets a lot of questions, but unlike me, the questions she gets usually aren’t about how she’s doing. They’re about me, about how I’m doing. “How’s Tim?” “I saw Tim’s picture on Facebook, he looks great!” “Is Tim doing ok?” “Is he back to work yet?” “We were so happy to hear about his recovery” “How’s Tim?”Don’t get me wrong, there were those who made sure she was ok. Joanne took care of the kids. Michelle took care of Sue and stayed with her during the surgery. And Tara made sure the family was fed. I can never thank them enough. The medical team at Saddleback Memorial were also great, both in their care of me and in their sensitivity to Sue. There were others who were looking out for her, but for the most part, it has been all about me.

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So, I offer up these thoughts and observations to thank my wife for going through it all for me (Love you, sweets!), to thank those who looked after her, and to highlight in a small way how much harder it can be for those who wait, for those who need a place to cry.
~TJK
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Flu Vaccine Study in Maryland

The NIH is looking for some volunteers.

Healthy Volunteers needed for an investigational flu vaccine study.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 310,000 people in the United States were hospitalized for flu-related illness during the 2015-2016 flu season.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center are testing investigational vaccines to determine if they are safe and effective at preventing influenza.

During the study you will:

Complete a health screening including medical history, physical exam and blood tests

Receive either 1 or 2 investigational flu vaccines

Have 8-10 outpatient visits that may last up to 40 weeks

Receive compensation for your participation 

You may be eligible if you:

Are healthy and between the ages of 18 and 70 (excludes those born from 1966 to 1969)

Have a BMI less than or equal to 40 (calculate your BMI at https://go.usa.gov/x5My6)

Do not have any medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or psychiatric condition

Are not pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant

This study is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, America’s research hospital is located on the Metro red line (Medical Center stop) in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information, call:
1- 866-444-1132
TTY: 1-866-411-1010
Se habla español
Online: https://go.usa.gov/xNH7U

Refer to study # NIH 17-I-0110

 

 

~TJK

NIH: Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

This is very cool!

#VeryCool

Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy
09/05/2017 09:55 AM EDT
https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/…

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not develop correctly or are damaged early in life. Many of those affected were born extremely prematurely and suffered brain hemorrhages shortly after birth. One of the condition’s most […]
Robotic Exoskeleton Could Be Right Step Forward for Kids with Cerebral Palsy
09/05/2017 09:55 AM EDT

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not develop correctly or are damaged early in life. Many of those affected were born extremely prematurely and suffered brain hemorrhages shortly after birth. One of the condition’s most […]

More than 17 million people around the world are living with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that occurs when motor areas of a child’s brain do not…
DIRECTORSBLOG.NIH.GOV

Vaccines, Real Medicine

I’m so tired of #Homeopathabullshit….

~TJK

LA Hospital Pays Hackers Nearly $17,000 To Restore Computer Network : The Two-Way : NPR

On security…

LA Hospital Pays Hackers Nearly $17,000 To Restore Computer Network

Updated February 18, 201610:36 AM ET
Published February 17, 20169:08 PM ET
LAURA WAGNER
The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hacked for ransom earlier this month.
The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hacked for ransom earlier this month.

A Los Angeles hospital paid a nearly $17,000 ransom to hackers who breached and disabled its computer network, the hospital said in a statement LA Hospital Pays Hackers Nearly $17,000 To Restore Computer Network

The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hacked for ransom earlier this month.
Junkyardsparkle via Wikimedia Commons
A Los Angeles hospital paid a nearly $17,000 ransom to hackers who breached and disabled its computer network, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday…

Mobile Devices in Medicine

There’s been a lot of interest in expanding the use of mobile electronic devices as a part of medical treatment. They’ve been in use in clinical trials (for Patient Reported Outcomes, or ePRO) for years starting with Palm Pilot devices with both good and bad results. A lot has been learned in that time; security and data integrity safeguards are improving. However, as devices get more powerful and more complex, new issues are being discovered…..even in the “Apple Magic Bullet” that is touted (and marketed) as being superior on that front. Case in point (Click Link for Full Article):


Germany warns of Apple security problem

By JUERGEN BAETZ, Associated Press Writer – 04 AUG 2010
BERLIN – Several versions of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch have potentially serious security problems, a German government agency said in an official warning Wednesday.
Apple’s iOS operating system has “two critical weak points for which no patch exists,” the Federal Office for Information Security said.
Opening a manipulated website or a PDF file could allow criminals to spy on passwords, planners, photos, text messages, e-mails and even listen in to phone conversations, the agency said in a statement.
“This allows potential attackers access to the complete system, including administrator rights,” it added, urging users not to open PDF files on their mobile devices and only use trustworthy websites until Apple Inc. publishes a software update.

There’s enormous opportunity with new technologies, but a profround responsibility to be diligent in assessing them and protecting their data.

~TJK

New Drug Development – 1.5 Billion Dollars

I was sad (though not surprised) to hear of JnJ’s pending layoffs. I have friends who work there. However, the thing that really caught my attention in this article is that the cost to develop a new drug has moved from US $800 Million to US $1.3-1.5 Billion in just a few years. I don’t have a lot of time to expound on this, but thought it worth flagging.

~TJK

J&J to slash 7,000 to 8,000 jobs

By Ransdell Pierson –

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson plans to cut up to 7 percent of its workforce in order to generate cost savings needed to finance increasingly costly drug research and to weather future challenges, the diversified healthcare company said on Tuesday.
J&J said the planned restructuring will eliminate 7,000 to 8,000 jobs and generate annualized cost savings of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion by 2011…..[snip]

The typical cost of developing a new medicine has now climbed to between $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion, from a cost of $800 million only a few years ago, Weldon said. He noted that J&J and other drugmakers increasingly are partnering with rival companies in order to share such financial gambles…..[snip]