A Night in the Sleep Lab

by Bill Brenner August 12, 2013 Medicine

I’m a chronic snorer. Hardly a week goes by where I’m not banished to the living room couch at least once for making a racket. My oldest son gleefully tells his buddies that I sound like a “busted chainsaw” at night. Erin has also observed that I sometimes stop breathing for short spurts. It’s an old problem, and two surgeries to the nose and throat failed to fix it. A hefty weight loss didn’t help…  [Read More]

Why Do Americans Die Sooner?

by Bill Brenner January 11, 2013 Medicine

CNN reports that despite spending more per person on healthcare than any other country, Americans are getting sicker and dying younger than our international peers. Why is this? Because Americans are too high strung and overworked. You could say the stress is killing us. Mood music, ironically sung by a couple of Brits: [spotify:track:45Zo6ftGzq6wRckCUrMoBJ] Here’s the takeaway from CNN: Data from 2007 show Americans’ life expectancy is 3.7 years shorter for men and 5.2 years…  [Read More]

WebMD’s Symptom Checker: Crack for OCD Heads

by Bill Brenner November 16, 2012 Lighthearted

WebMD has a fantastic thing called the Symptom Checker. Have a headache and numbness in the toes? Just punch it into the symptom checker and get a diagnosis. Mood music: [spotify:track:79DVDD46pdqwjYucn91fny] In the hands of an OCD patient, this thing can provide hours of obsessive-compulsive fun, as you pinpoint every ache and pain in your body and have the Symptom Checker tell you what’s the matter. The first thing you do is point to parts…  [Read More]

All You Wanted Was a Pepsi. Instead You Got Drugs

by Bill Brenner September 19, 2012 Medicine

A friend of mine likes to refer to antidepressants as “brain candy.” I hate when he does, because it oversimplifies the very complicated science of mental medication. It’s not about seeing flowers and sunshine where neither exist. Mood music: There is this notion that taking antidepressants is a sign of weakness. I come across a lot of people who see the medicine as something to take out of desperation and to get off of as…  [Read More]

Update on Dad

by Bill Brenner August 28, 2012 Family

Thanks to everyone who left prayers for Dad on my Facebook page yesterday, and thanks to my sister-in-law Robin for dropping everything to watch the kids so Erin and I could go to the hospital last night. Mood music: [spotify:track:7gUfl0F0N9YE4XC3FKkfy8] Dad had emergency surgery last night for a malfunctioning heart. In the end, it turned out the heart was pumping fine, but that the blood has nowhere to go. All but one artery is blocked,…  [Read More]

Exeter Hospital: Stop Making Excuses and Test Employees for Hepatitis C

by Bill Brenner August 17, 2012 Medicine

An open letter to New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital. To Whom It May Concern: You may find the outrage I’m about to unleash unfair. But the Hepatitis C scare caused by your lax security has threatened someone I love and thousands of others. I spent my childhood in and out of the hospital, getting stuck with needles weekly and sometimes daily. I had a blood transfusion in the 1970s, before blood was tested for AIDS contamination,…  [Read More]

Exeter Hospital’s Hepatitis C Scare Hits Close to Home

by Bill Brenner August 15, 2012 Medicine

David Kwiatkowski made national news for spreading Hepatitis C to patients at Exeter Hospital in N.H. He worked his way across the country, getting fired from several hospitals but escaping arrest until officials at Exeter blew the whistle. The story hits too close to home, as a relative was potentially exposed during an ER visit there last fall. Mood music: [spotify:track:6puCpCdHG5wmLUZB3BL7S9] To date, 31 patients have tested positive for Hepatitus C. The hospital realized something…  [Read More]

How to Stop Screwing Your Patients in Four Simple Steps

by Bill Brenner June 15, 2012 Medicine

A colonoscopy I was supposed to have today was abruptly canceled over missing paperwork.┬áNormally I wouldn’t complain about something like this because life happens. But┬áI’m hearing a lot lately about medical offices screwing up and making the patient feel stupid instead of taking responsibility. Mood music: [spotify:track:79DVDD46pdqwjYucn91fny] I know people who get scared shitless when they have to go for a procedure. They worry for weeks and just want to get it over with, and…  [Read More]

For A Girl Recently Diagnosed With Crohn’s Disease

by Bill Brenner May 3, 2012 Children's issues

The daughter of close friends just found out she has Crohn’s Disease. She’s suffering a lot right now, and I know exactly what she’s going through. This post is for her. Mood music: [spotify:track:3l4L10OL1gbfypzTwjvINb] Hello, my young friend. I’m sorry that you’re hurting so much right now. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was around your age, and spent many weeks in the hospital between ages 8-16. It stinks. But if there’s one…  [Read More]

Hey, Kids! Here’s Something For ‘When Your Brain Gets Stuck’

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2012 Children's issues

I just got a book in the mail called “What To Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide To Overcoming OCD” by psychologist-author Dawn Huebner. I asked for a copy so I could review it, but it might warrant more than one simple review. Mood music: Someone I’m connected to on Facebook got a copy to help her OCD-suffering child. Since the upcoming relaunch of THE OCD DIARIES will have an expanded…  [Read More]