TEACH YOUR CHIDREN

It’s been a long time since I’ve awakened with a song in my head. In the past, awakening with a song playing over and over again in my head corelated with an important life event; and today’s song by CSNY correlates well with Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  Below are the lyrics to “Teach Your Children.”   For those of you who are too young to know the song, I’ve included a hyperlink.

You who are on the road

Must have a code that you can live by

And so become yourself

Because the past is just a good-bye.

Teach your children well,

Their father’s hell did slowly go by,

And feed them on your dreams

The one they pick, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,

So just look at them and sigh

And know they love you.

And you, of tender years,

Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,

And so please help them with your youth,

They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,

Their children’s hell will slowly go by,

And feed them on your dreams

The one they pick, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Here’s my take on this song.  We are all on the road of life and many of us experience our own personal hell while taking our journey from birth to death.  My personal hell is Parkinson’s.  As their father and teacher, my job is to teach them how to avoid the dreams that I let haunt me throughout my life and give them reasons to have better dreams, dreams of being healthy and happy.

Currently, there are no proven preventative measures that can be taken but many physicians believe that exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle combined with a diet high in anti-oxidants may prove helpful in delaying or even lessening the impact of the disease.

Certainly, had I been healthier at the time of diagnosis, I would be better now.  My dream is that research will ultimately come up with a cure and that’s the dream I want my children to focus on.  In the meantime, I am happy to say that they have been exercising regularly, have improved their diets and are living healthier lifestyles.

Whether you have Parkinson’s or not, a healthier lifestyle, diet and exercise will surely improve your physical and emotional being.  Work at being “Wellthy.”  (“Diets and Other Unnatural Acts” is now free on Kindle).  The life you save may be your own.

Here’s today’s jokes:

If a man talks dirty to a woman, that’s sexual harassment. If a woman talks dirty to a man, that’ll be $6.50 a minute.

If a midget tells you your hair smells nice… “…is that sexual harassment?”

PARKINSON’S EPIPHANY

As many of you know, May is Parkinson’s Awareness month.  I want to thank you all for your support over the years and give a special thanks to those who have contributed to the Parkinson’s Foundation Move It Walk on May 22 in Charlotte, NC. 

You would think that I, above all people, would be fully aware of Parkinson’s and all of its aspects.  Afterall, both my father and his father had Parkinson’s.  I’m embarrassed to say that I have spent a lifetime avoiding anything to do with Parkinson’s.  As a physician, I actively referred Parkinson’s patients to specialists, transferring their care away as caring for them meant facing the disease that has overshadowed much of my life.

Over the years, those very patients have tried on multiple occasions to get me involved in the Parkinson’s community and Rock Steady.  Each attempt to pull me in was met with a cold shoulder.  I owe those caring souls an apology.

As my readers know, retiring and moving to Charlotte left me with no place to hide and I went through a period where I simply gave up on life.  My view of Parkinson’s was so dismal that, as far as I was concerned, the end could not come fast enough.  During that period, my articles were pretty dark; and, in response, my readers showered me with love.  So did my children and grandchildren.

As I was emerging from those dark days, I found a Rock Steady group at the Charlotte Jewish Community Center and, to please Renee, signed up.  I was welcomed into the group with open arms.  It was to be a monumental moment in my life.  I found myself surrounded by Parkinson’s but not the Parkinson’s I had hidden from all my life.  Instead, I found a group of individuals who were living with their Parkinson’s rather than dying with it as I was.

I saw, firsthand, individuals who literally fell down only to get up and move on. I’ve written on many occasions about Mr. Wonderful whose mantra was, “If you fall down 6 times, get up 7 times.” Here I found people who followed the mantra.  I also found individuals who were quick to come to my aid if I needed it.

While I try not to play the “Would have, could have” game, I should have listened to my patients and gotten involved with the Parkinson’s Community sooner.  I’ve wasted a lot of time and have some catching up to do.  Now that I’m finally involved, it’s my job to make sure that others learn from my mistake.  Parkinson’s Awareness month needs to be Parkinson’s Awareness Decade and that takes money.

Renee and I will be walking with my newfound community on May 22nd.  My goal is to raise as much money as possible so please contribute what you can.  The newest research is promising.  I will see the neurosurgeon this month and am planning on having the DBS (deep brain stimulation) procedure and will keep you informed.

To make a contribution supporting my efforts go to: stewart Segal’s fundraising page for Parkinson Association of the Carolinas  (https://give.parkinsonassociation.org/fundraiser/3206084) do a control/click on the underlined text or copy and paste the address into your web browser and it should take you to my page.  If you have problems, please let me know.

HOORAY, IT’S THE FIRST OF MAY

I like a good challenge but this one has bested me.  My neighbor taught me a saying I’ve never heard.  It goes like this, “Hooray, hooray, it’s the first of May, Outdoor sex starts today.”   I like the concept but can’t quite figure out how to write an article about outdoor sex.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember having outdoor sex!

I remember making out on the beach and getting sand into places it didn’t belong.  I remember fooling around in the mountains of Virginia and being assaulted by rocks and sticks poking up through the blanket we placed on the ground.

Now that I think about it, sex on the balcony of the Holland America cruise ship was outdoors, romantic and downright fantastic.  The moon shining on the ocean, the sound of the waves and the sway of the boat all augmented the experience. Renee, let’s take a cruise!

Outdoor sex sounded good but was uncomfortable unless you were in a tent with a plush sleeping bag or on a cruise ship.  Then, again, that really wasn’t outdoor sex. While my general rule of thumb is any sex is good sex, I guess I’m a prima donna. My definition of roughing it was going to a Holiday Inn.

Well, it’s not much of an article; but this new May First ditty just got me to thinking. Do you remember sex?  Do you remember outdoor sex?  Are they fond memories or things you’d rather forget?  Frankly, I rather forget where the sand went! 

So, what’s this article really about?  My daughter just called to warn me not to see “The Father.” She said it is about dementia from the patient’s point of view.  She said it was very depressing. Dementia is one of the most depressing diseases you can get.  Parkinson’s patients are at increased risk of dementia.  So far, I’m ok.  Hopefully, I’ll dodge that bullet.  In the meantime, dredging up old memories and memorializing them by writing about them is like making deposits in the bank for future use.

It’s also fun.  I imagine my kids are cringing about now; so I’ll quit at this point.

Here’s your joke for the day:

Ever had sex while camping? It’s fucking in-tents.

PROFESSION OR BUSINESS

Is medicine a profession or is it a business?  To us old timers, medicine is first and foremost a profession, a calling.  As such, the business of medicine has always come second.  Unfortunately, neglecting the business side of medicine has led to my profession’s downfall.

Fast forward to current times.  Medicine has become big business.  Companies such as Walgreens have led the charge. The creation of Accredited Care Organizations is just one of the many vehicles created and owned by corporate entities to suck every available penny out of my once proud profession.  Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants have become corporate America’s service technicians and patients have become cost centers to be controlled and serviced in mass.

What’s behind the changes in medicine?  Profits!  America’s leading healthcare companies have figured out the business end of medicine and are going at the business full gun.  Pharmacies are now doing acute and chronic care in their Quickie Clinics.  Does anyone see a problem here?  I certainly do!

In past articles, I have written about the ethics of selling cigarettes in a facility that administers care and medication to sick smokers.  Corporate America had taken greed to a whole new level.  Due to public outcry, the practice of selling cigarettes in pharmacies finally stopped in 2020.  Unfortunately, it will take more than a public outcry to heal our current healthcare system.

The treatment of chronic diseases entails more than just writing a prescription. It entails helping the patient develop healthy lifestyles.  Will the store front practitioner who is treating a patient for diabetes walk her through the store and show her everything she shouldn’t buy or will the sale on large bags of Reese’s Pieces catch the patient’s eye and will he/she end up with several bags of the sugary delight in his/her cart?   Will the three 12 packs of Coke for $12 sale be the diabetic shopper’s reward for purchasing his/her healthcare at such a convenient location?

Will the store front practitioner walk the hypertensive safely out of the store avoiding the racks of salt-laden chips and pretzels?  I think not!  Instead, the store designers will continue to set up food gauntlets designed to lead the customer to the most profitable products and fill the corporation’s coffers.

The business of medicine is the end of medicine as us old timers know it.  Ethics and morals are changing and it has become completely ethical to sell an obese individual a diet pill, a six pack of Millers, chips, pretzels and candy.  Afterall, corporate America pays its administrators well; and, while the number of docs seems to be decreasing, the number of administrators is on the rise.

Read, “Executive compensation, 2019 Novant Health Form 990”.  It will blow you away.

Here’s today’s joke,

An elderly man is stopped by the police around 2 a.m. and is asked where he is going at this time of night.

The man replies, “I am on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.” The officer then asks, “Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?”

The man replies, “That would be my wife.”