Despite the fact that I had wanted to become a doctor from the time I was eight years old, the idea of going through grueling training intimidated me, so I kept putting off that goal. It was actually quite rewarding and fulfilling for me to zigzag through a number of different jobs (the most prominent were personal trainer, personal assistant to a famous stand-up comic, and optometric technician) after I graduated from college. Because I allowed myself some wiggle room, I finally came full circle and realized that the most fulfilling career choice for me would be in medicine. After prepping, taking the MCAT, and applying to medical school, I was accepted and spent the next four years studying the discipline which had attracted me so much as a child.
The day of my graduation from medical school was quite special, partly because my mother was beaming from ear to ear, my then-husband was excited for me, and my father actually made a point of attending the event. I will never forget my mom placing the Kelly green and white graduation hood (the color combo for medicine) over my head and across my back, signifying my graduation from medical school, It was indeed one of the most meaningful and special moments in my entire life.
What To Do When Your Parents Need Different Types of Senior Care
As your parents age, they may need help finding senior care or an alternative living situation. When that time comes, you may be faced with an unexpected challenge — figuring out what to do when only one parent needs to move into a nursing home. Dr. Stacey Naito of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog explains that by involving your parents and handling the process with compassion, you can create a smooth, loving transition.
Choosing a Nursing Home
The right nursing home is essential for your parents’ comfort, health, and financial stability. As you choose a facility, follow these steps:
Verify insurance coverage. Find out how much your parents’ plan will pay each month.
Identify appropriate facilities. Find nursing homes that accept your parents’ insurance and fulfill their care requirements. Go online to find the facilities in your area and read up on pricing information, payment options, and reviews. You’ll find nearly 80 assisted living communities in Los Angeles.
Determine excess costs. Calculate the extra monthly costs for each facility.
Make a short list. Select facilities that fit your budget, care, and location preferences.
Read reviews. Look into the reputation, quality of care, and services at each facility.
Visit facilities. Bring both of your parents to check out your top 3-5 nursing homes. Look at factors such as cleanliness, activities, and interpersonal relationships.
Ask about openings. Find out when a room or bed will open.
Paying for a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility
In the United States, US News & World Report notes that the average room in a nursing home costs more than $100,000 per year. For a shared room, you can expect costs of more than $93,000 per year. Some ways to cover nursing home costs are:
Long-term care insurance
Savings and retirement income
Keep in mind that costs can vary significantly between states and cities. If you live in a different city, you might save money by moving your parents to a nursing home near you.
Helping Your Other Parent Downsize
Maintaining a home is a big job; when one parent moves into a nursing home, your other parent may want to move as well. Some options are:
When your parents are moving to different places, you’ll need to deal with two moves. A moving company can make the transition easier for everyone; they can handle the packing and the heavy lifting so you can focus on your parents. For safety and security, choose a trusted company by reading moving company reviews online and selecting the best one. Ideally, the moving company you choose has experience with senior moves.
Providing Compassionate Help to Aging Parents
Moving your parents into separate homes can be emotional and exhausting for everyone involved. As an adult child, DailyCaring points out that all of the stress can make it harder to remain compassionate. To ease the process, you can:
Hire a senior move manager. They’ll help with sorting, organizing, and selling belongings during the downsizing process.
Take personal time. Make time for your friends and favorite activities.
Ask relatives for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Get support. Join a support group to express your emotions in a safe place.
Managing the Senior Care Process
With patience and compassion, you can help both of your parents settle into new homes. Remember to put a lot thought into choosing the right senior living facility, paying for continued care, helping with downsizing, and providing all the care you can.
Please check out this informative and excellent article by Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net which has great tips for managing your overall health if you have diabetes.
Managing diabetes is a full-time job that can interfere with your life in more ways than one. But this common disease doesn’t have to rob you of a healthy, active lifestyle. Adopting healthy habits is essential for managing diabetes, preventing complications, and giving you better control over your life—and you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it! If you’re looking for new ways to improve your health, check out the tips below presented by Stacey Naito.
Get Moving to Lose Weight
Weight loss is a crucial element of any diabetes management plan. Carrying excess weight can increase insulin resistance and make it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. However, a recent trial reported by Medical News Today found that losing weight may reverse the effects of early type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, aerobic exercise is a very effective weight-loss tool! Also see if you can find ways to keep moving at the office. Many of us are sedentary at work, so see how often you can take the stairs or stand during a meeting.
Fitness trackers are affordable, user-friendly devices that can help you get moving and shed those pounds safely. There are several models to choose from with different features to meet a variety of health and fitness needs. For example, some fitness trackers include heart rate monitors, while others are capable of tracking your sleep stages. Take a look at your options from stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy, or Walmart.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to add some music to the mix! Sometimes, listening to music—or even a podcast—can provide you with the motivation you need to push through your exercise routine. You can invest in a speaker to add some quality to your tunes, as well as a stand that can keep your phone upright if you’re using it to watch something as you work out. Do what works best for you. Find what motivates you and work it into your routine.
Adopting a nutritious diet is another effective way to lose weight and keep diabetes under control. EatingWell recommends developing a low-calorie, nutrient-packed meal plan full of complex carbohydrates, fresh veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein. There are many free apps out there that can help you develop healthy meal plans on any budget. For example, Mealime is great for finding personalized recipes and generating shopping lists. Similarly, Meal Planner Pro offers budget-friendly meal planning for people with a variety of conditions, including diabetes.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Many complications can arise if you don’t keep your blood pressure in check. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is exceedingly common in people with diabetes, since this disease causes damage to the arteries. Alarmingly, constant high blood pressure can lead to everything from kidney failure to a heart attack. Keeping your blood pressure down might lessen your chances of peripheral vascular disease and stroke. The good news here is that blood pressure monitors are affordable and easy to use. Take a reading often, and contact your doctor if your numbers are consistently high.
Learn About Your Body
You can also try free and low-cost apps to learn how different foods affect your body. Use diabetes apps and food trackers to log what you eat and when, so you can learn how different foods affect your blood sugar levels. With these apps, you’ll be able to monitor long-term trends and identify the foods and activities that make you feel your best.
Your doctor can be a great resource for diabetes-related information and questions. And if getting to the doctor’s office is a challenge, you can try finding online doctors. Once you’ve found a great fit, you can do video appointments and pick up prescribed medications at your convenience, and most accept a variety of insurance options.
Did you know that stress can worsen your diabetes? Stress increases blood sugar levels, raises blood pressure, increases insulin resistance, impairs sleep, and promotes emotional eating. If you’re struggling with stress, use mindfulness apps like Headspace and Pacifica to calm your mind and learn how to manage anxiety throughout your day. Other apps, like Relax Melodies and Calm, use gentle music and sounds to promote relaxation—these are great if you have trouble sleeping! Most of these apps include free versions and offer affordable subscription options to unlock more features.
Living with diabetes can be tough, to say the least. Fortunately, a variety of low-cost apps and tech devices can make it easier to adopt healthy habits and enjoy the life you want. Use all of the tools at your disposal for guidance and motivation, so you don’t have to face diabetes alone.
Dr. Stacey Naito is passionate about feeling and looking good. Her blog is full of helpful resources on eating well, getting active, and living your best life.
This is crazy to me! I was bored one afternoon and decided to type in “hottest female doctors” in the Google search field. I had done this in the past and was stunned when I saw more than one article which mentioned me. I once again stumbled upon another article which was published in 2016, and which is a highlighted “People Also Ask” question on Google: “who is the hottest female doctor in the world:?”. I honestly thought I might see a venerated female colleague as a response to that question, but instead, I saw that there was an article on me!
I have gotten a LOT of criticism for being forthright in my determination to show off the labors of my hard work in the gym. My determination comes from being a “practice what I preach” type of person, and not from wanting to be in any type of spotlight. So before the haters emerge and decide to blast me, keep in mind where I am coming from.
Remember that time you saw your teacher at the grocery store? Maybe you’re still recovering from the trauma. Even though nine-year-old you knew that your teacher was, well, human, the idea that he or she engaged in human behaviors similar to those of your own family was a tough pill to swallow. Spotting a teacher on vacation? Perish the thought. What about your doctor? Your surgeon? They don’t actually eat food, do errands, or (gasp) go to the beach like the rest of us, do they? Well if they do, just hope you don’t have to witness it, right? With social media, oftentimes a click of a button will save you a trip out in public to peek at the private lives of those who care for you or your children. One group based in Boston sought to take their own peek into the lives of young surgeons via fabricated social media accounts. And they wrote about it in a highly respected academic journal.
In the August 2020 issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, a manuscript entitled “Prevalence of Unprofessional Social Media Content Among Young Vascular Surgeons,” was retracted by the journal’s editorial board yesterday. The article sought to identify what the authors consider to be “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” behavior on various social media platforms by young vascular surgeons, in efforts to recognize and, in turn, discourage, any such behavior which could have a negative impact on patient respect for physicians. While some of the issues addressed are clearly critical for patient care, including patient privacy violations, slander of colleagues, and illegal drug use, many of the other issues addressed can be construed as privacy violations into the lives of young physicians. Particularly female physicians. The investigators focused on recent vascular surgery residency and fellowship graduates, putting the average age of the study subjects (who did not give permission to be studied) at around 30-35 years old. They created “neutral” (translation: fake) Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to search the social media feeds of young surgeons.
The three fake accounts to search for unprofessional behavior were created by male students and fellows, ages 28-37 years old. Included in what they considered to be unprofessional behavior were photographs of “provocative” Halloween costumes and poses in bikinis. In addition, any reference to politically or socially-charged issues such as abortion and gun control were included as unprofessional behavior. The real social media world got word of this publication, and responded loud and clear. The notion that the focus was targeting young female surgeons on how they dress during their non-work time was met with disgust and uproar. The hashtag #MedBikini went viral on Twitter and Instagram, bringing countless women (and men) to proudly post pictures of themselves in bikinis or other casual attire, along with the #MedBikini hashtag, in mutual support of so-called “unprofessional” behavior outside of the operating room.
While the authors did address issues of patient privacy and uncollegial behavior, the focus on female surgeons wearing bikinis, especially tracked by male students and fellows under fake social media accounts, raised the “creep” factor to higher and higher levels as the issue came to the public. Hearkening back to the #ILookLikeASurgeon hashtag, which began in 2016, pointing out that, yes, even bikini-clad, all-shapes-and-sizes, all-genders-regardless-of-identity can be and are surgeons, #MedBikini is a trend to humanize, not de-professionalize, women in a traditionally male profession.
Dr. Mudit Chowdhary, a Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Rush University, shared his concerns with the study and on social media. When asked why he felt so strongly about the manuscript, he stated, “I have issues with the definition of unprofessional behavior…it is inappropriate to label social issues as unprofessional. We are humans first before physicians. Plus, the issues they label as controversial (gun control, abortion) are healthcare issues. Physicians are taught to be community leaders in medical school and we need to speak up in order to help our communities.” When asked about whether or not physicians should be held to higher standards, even on social media, he responded, “I do believe physicians should have some higher standards. For example, disclosing HIPAA information is something nobody else has to deal with. However, much of the issue is that the medical field is highly conservative and misogynistic.”
In response to such widely disseminated disgust with this publication, one of the lead authors, Dr. Jeffrey Siracuse, issued a public apology on Twitter:
And soon after, the editors of the journal issued a public statement with plans to retract the article from the journal. In their statement, they reveal that there were errors in the review process, including the issue of conscious and unconscious bias on the part of the investigators, as well as failure to obtain permission from national program directors to use the database in searching private and public social media accounts of recent graduates of training programs. Their retraction statement concluded as follows:
“Finally, we offer an apology to every person who has communicated the sadness, anger, and disappointment caused by this article. We have received an outpouring of constructive commentary on this matter, and we intend to take each point seriously and take resolute steps to improve our review process and increase diversity of our editorial boards.” (Peter Gloviczki, MD and Peter F. Lawrence, MD, Editors, Journal of Vascular Surgery).
There was some favorable response to this statement and retraction, yet many continue to feel that an assessment of professionalism was carried out in an extremely unprofessional manner, underscoring the irony of such an endeavor. Not to mention the lack of diversity in the editorial board, comprised of two male surgeons who happen to share the same first name.
While the issue of professionalism on the part of physicians should remain paramount, and does, indeed, require further exploration, monitoring, and careful attention, especially when it comes to patient privacy, social issues outside of the medical sphere should, perhaps, remain just social. But if you do see your surgeon out at the grocery store, or even at the beach, all that should matter right now is that they (and you) are wearing a mask.
The journal’s editor, Dr. Peter Gloviczki, commented that the paper had gone through the journal’s standard editorial review process, with three reviewers accepting the manuscript after major revisions. While the board is racially diverse, Dr. Gloviczki acknowledges that it lacks gender diversity. Soon after the concerns for the paper were made public, the editorial board “immediately reviewed the data collection, methodology, gender bias, results, and conclusions. It was obvious within our board that we found issues, including the fact that the list of doctors obtained from the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery is designed for internal society use, not for clinical data collection.” In addition, Dr. Gloviczki noted the journal’s failure “to identify definitions of unprofessional behavior and we missed the issue of subjectivity and bias in the review process.” He emphatically apologized for the errors, stating “We learned from this. We will be changing our review process, initiating a series of changes, including expanding the editorial board to include more women.”
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Have you ever spoken with someone who had such bad breath that you were tempted to turn away or shield your nose from the olfactory onslaught? If a person has such bad breath that it is very noticeable to others, his or her oral health is very poor, with excessive levels of oral bacteria. When oral bacteria levels are left unchecked, the most obvious conditions which develop are gum disease and tooth decay.
Your mouth is a veritable breeding ground for bacteria, and though most of the microbes which take up residence in your mouth are harmless, some species can also enter your lungs and digestive tract and wreak havoc on them. In addition, bacteria which enter the bloodstream from inflamed gums can travel to arteries in the heart, causing them to harden, which then causes plaque to develop on the arterial walls and impede blood flow. In plain terms, bacteria from your mouth can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. Another vital organ in which oral bacteria can accumulate is the brain, increasing the risk of development of Alzheimer’s dementia.
So how do you most effectively control the amount of bacteria in your mouth and protect yourself against development of major diseases? The most obvious advice is to brush and floss daily, but there are also a number of other guidelines which you should follow for the healthiest teeth and gums.
FOR OPTIMAL ORAL HEALTH, DO THE FOLLOWING:
* brush teeth at least twice daily
* floss daily
* brush your tongue daily
* don’t brush too vigorously
* go for professional dental cleaning every six months
* reduce sugar intake
* get cavities filled as soon as you discover them
I know that many people get very lazy about flossing in particular, complaining that it is tedious and not worth the time. Admittedly, I used to be one of those people until about 15 years ago, when I made a concerted effort to floss daily, and I can tell you that it has made a difference. How do I know? Because when I go for my regular dental exam and cleaning every six months (and I go like clockwork), the dentist or hygienist doesn’t have much to scrape off my teeth. The trick with flossing is to curve the floss and run it along the tooth to remove any stubborn plaque and food items which may be hugging the curves and the spaces between each tooth. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a snap to do.
I also prefer an electric toothbrush with soft bristles. For those of you who use a heavy hand when you brush your teeth, bear in mind that you are wearing down your enamel when you brush vigorously. Allow the oscillation of the brush bristles to do the work. It’s also better for your hand and wrist.
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Many women who have low serum levels of testosterone (normal total levels range between 15–70 nanograms per deciliter) are often wrongly convinced by their doctors, loved ones or coworkers that they are suffering from depression or stress. Low testosterone in women commonly causes fatigue, low libido and sleep disturbances, symptoms which are also found in mood disorders. The fact of the matter is, like men, women become deficient in testosterone as they age, and may manifest a whole host of symptoms.
Here are some common symptoms of low testosterone which women may experience:
increase in fat stores
decreased sexual satisfaction
development of cardiovascular disease
Image ID : 15314531 Copyright : alphaspirit
While some women will agree to boost their testosterone levels by using testosterone supplements (either injected or in topical form), there are numerous side effects which may emerge from such therapy. These side effects, some of which are irreversible, include hair loss (male-pattern baldness), weight gain, insulin resistance, acne, excess facial hair, hirsutism, deepening of voice, aggression, enlarged clitoris, and smaller breast size. If a woman is concerned about these side effects, she can turn to DHEA, regular exercise, and certain foods to increase testosterone levels.
A significant increase in serum testosterone levels has been consistently demonstrated during the hours following exercise, so a regular exercise regimen will naturally and safely increase testosterone levels in women. There are also numerous foods which boost testosterone levels in the body. They are:
Image ID : 86626652 Copyright : annyart
What if exercise and the introduction of testosterone-raising foods isn’t enough for a woman to create normal testosterone levels in the blood? A hormone which is secreted in the bloodstream by the adrenal glands known as dihydroepiandosterone, or DHEA, can be taken as an oral supplement. DHEA is converted in the body into DHEA sulfate, then androstenedione, then ultimately to testosterone and estrogens. DHEA reaches its highest levels in the body in one’s twenties, when undergoes a slow and steady decline (about 10% for each decade of life). Oh the joys of aging, right? Probably the most concerning aspect of DHEA’s decline is the potential development of major diseases such as heart disease and cancer, but another confounding aspect is the decline in the sex hormones, with a corresponding drop in muscle mass, increase in visceral fat, skin changes, and all the other symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause.
It is widely believed that DHEA is a key hormone which can be administered as an anti-aging treatment for older individuals. One key study followed 30 male and female subjects ranging between 40-70 years of age for six months, during which time they were given 50 mg of DHEA per day for 3 months, then 3 months of placebo, in random order. It only took two weeks for patients taking DHEA to reach the serum DHEA levels of young adults, and after 3 months on DHEA therapy, the majority of subjects reported improved sleep, more energy, and less anxiety. Another study which examined women between the ages of 45-55 found that the subjects who were given 50 mg daily of DHEA had significantly higher testosterone levels than women who were in the placebo group.
If you are a woman considering boosting your blood testosterone levels with DHEA, please make sure to get a full workup and bloodwork from physician who is well-versed in hormone replacement therapy to determine whether you are indeed deficient in testosterone. I always advise starting with DHEA as opposed to testosterone, since the side effect profile of DHEA is much more tolerable than that of testosterone. I also recommend getting your DHEA supplementation compounded with pregnenolone from a well-respected compounding pharmacy for the best purity and quality. You may still experience some side effects from DHEA supplementation, especially at higher doses (in excess of 25 mg daily). These side effects include oily skin and acne, skin thickening, hair loss, stomach upset, headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, changes in menstrual cycle, facial hair in women, deepening of the voice, and fatigue.
Morales AJ, Nolan JJ, Nelson JC, Yen SS. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994 Jun;78(6):1360-7.
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Probiotics supplements have become so ubiquitous that it can be confusing to try to determine which ones you should take. You may even be asking yourself if there is any point to taking probiotics, especially if you are already taking a handful of nutritional supplements.
So What Are Probiotics Anyway?
Our digestive tracts serve as the home for many billions of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi which are actually beneficial to us and essential for normal function. These living organisms, collectively known as the micro biome, are consumed either in foods or in a probiotic supplement, and are vital to not only gut health, but to our immunity and overall health.
Probiotics were discovered by Elie Metchnikoff, who is known as the father of probiotics. He noticed that inhabitants of rural sections of Bulgaria would live to ripe old ages despite living in extreme poverty. When he discovered that they consumed sour milk, he encountered the gut-friendly bacteria which are now known as probiotics.
Another interesting manner in which humans acquire beneficial bacteria is through the birth canal, where a newborn will be exposed to Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Escherichia coli, and Bifidobacterium. This is the main reason why infants who are born via C-section have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to allergies.
What exactly do probiotics do? They are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestion. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad gut bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.
Since our immune response protects us from germs, and also since beneficial bacteria in our digestive tracts are vital to optimal immunity, it makes sense to replenish our guts with probiotics. If our digestive tracts are deficient in probiotics, we are more susceptible to infections, autoimmune disorders, and allergic reactions.
In order for a microbe to be designated as a probiotic, it must meet the following criteria:
1. It must have a documented health benefit,
2. It must be alive when taken, and
3. It must be administered at levels to offer a health benefit.
You should take at least one billion colony forming units (CFU’s) each day.
If you would like to supplement your diet with foods which contain probiotic bacteria, you can incorporate the following foods into your regimen:
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Prebiotics are quite different from probiotics, but they work in tandem with probiotics to have a synergistic effect. For this reason, prebiotics and probiotics are known as synbiotics.
While probiotics are live microbes, prebiotics are a type of insoluble fiber which probiotic organisms use as food. When you take prebiotics, you supply the probiotics you ingest with nutrients they need in order to thrive. These fiber sources (inulin and oligosaccharides) pass through the human stomach and small intestine without being broken down. When they reach the colon, they are fermented, producing short-chain fatty acids which are then consumed by the beneficial microbes which have set up house there.
Prebiotics are found naturally in the following foods:
– Bamboo shoots
– Sugarcane juice
– Sugar beet
Since the probiotics rely on the prebiotics for food, prebiotics must be taken prior to the probiotics.
Experts are now stating that by taking prebiotics, individuals can treat constipation and irritable bowel disease, immune deficiencies, and even prevent and treat different types of cancer. Other research has proven that consuming prebiotic-containing foods increases calcium absorption and bone mineral density in adolescents as well as post-menopausal women. Other studies suggest that probiotics can promote healthy body weight and optimize energy homeostasis.
Conclusion? It’s a great idea to incorporate either prebiotic supplements or prebiotic-containing foods in your daily regimen, along with probiotics, to ensure optimal gut health, support immunity, and protect against a myriad of disease processes.
One thing I never thought about before I went to medical school was how much I would be exposed to various illnesses as a physician. I guess you could say it’s an occupational hazard, but it can be downright frightening when you are exposed to some of the most virulent microbes which circulate in communities and in hospital environments. You’re bound to catch something at intervals.
Most people think of hospitals as disease-riddled, and they’re pretty much correct. But there are other places which have the potential to make you too weak to whip a gnat.
One of the worst environments is the pediatric setting, in which walking Petri dishes, also known as children, traipse into the clinic and somehow fling their nasty germs onto you. Before you know it, you are struck with a horrific infection that require an army of medications before you begin to feel human again. I remember spending the majority of my time in every single pediatrics rotation I completed, whether it was as a student, intern, or resident, so ill that I spent my days feeling like I had been hit by a truck, with a pressure cooker for a noggin, fuzzy-brained and miserable from whatever pathogen those little brats had brought to me.
Another microbe-filled gathering place is urgent care, a setting in which I have worked regularly over the past couple of years. Last year, when I was working more shifts than ever, I contracted three upper respiratory infections which progressed to bronchitis, and developed acute gastroenteritis (stomach flu) twice. Thank goodness I always get a flu shot every fall, otherwise I am sure I would have been hit with influenza as well. I see patients who are so sick that they can barely stay awake during their exams, people who have no business being out in public.
I recently saw a young female patient with a 103 degree fever who looked very ill, so I tested her for strep throat and influenza A&B. The nurse on staff asked if I wanted both, to which I replied, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if both tests lit up like Christmas trees.” And they did. She actually had both influenza A and streptococcal pharyngitis. Poor girl.
It’s my duty as a physician to care for others, and I take it very seriously. But I will admit that my attitude towards my own illnesses is similar to the attitude of the Black Knight. My attitude is that it’s “only a flesh wound”, or “just a scratch” when I am ill or injured, so when I finally break down and admit that I am ill or injured, I am definitely in a bad place physically.
I suspect this attitude is similar to that of other physicians. So keep that in mind when you see that your provider is under the weather. We are only human as well.