Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays

NewFNP would like to institute a rule firmly stating that her schedule the week before Christmas and, equally as importantly, newFNP's birthday can accomodate only well visits and patients who would like to sit and chat about ways to keep healthy throughout this holiday season.

Patients who should bypass the tiny community health clinic and go straight to the emergency room include those who are a) new to the practice and b) 80 years old and c) having chest pain and dizziness and d) apparently carrying a right-sided heart the size of a Plymouth around in their chest as evidenced by ekg tracings. Shame on newFNP for forgetting to share that this gentleman also had inverted t-waves. At least the decision to send a chap like that to the ED is an easy one.

Similarly easy in the "A/P" department is a woman who is being seen for itchy eyes and has a blood pressure of 150/110 who casually notes that she has been snacking on ice for the past year or so and whose hemoglobin was an eye-popping 3.4. Note: blood should not be pink and watery. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah - you're getting a blood transfusion! Hell, maybe even two!

As for newFNP, she has five consecutive days off and she frankly needs it. Burnout, baby, burnout. Five days should provide newFNP with a fresh outlook and, considering the season, perhaps some new fashions with which to create a vibrant return to the 'hood.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Heavy metal

Amongst many other ills one might see in an economically depressed community, newFNP's clinic sees a lot of children with elevated lead levels.

Now, when newFNP was in school, she was taught that it was the 18-month old child snacking on deliciously sweet paint chips off of brightly colored Mexican pottery or the child in an urban setting who lived next to a freeway/refinery/#2 pencil factory who was at risk for lead poisoning. In newFNP's clinic, we have another lead source: tamarind or 'chili' candies.

Now, newFNP is an unabashed sweet tooth, but she has never developed a taste for the chili candies. Little did she know that she was preventing herself from lead exposure. If she had developed this taste, she would be able to buy such candies by the bag-full from her local ice cream truck, the corner market or the streetside vendor. The lead is plentiful in newFNP's hood!

Getting these kids off the chili candies can be like getting Barry Bonds off the 'roids. According to the parents newFNP sees, it's the grandparents who are the tamarind-lead pushers. It's always those who you least expect!