Tag Archives: illness

Saving Lives, Bad for Business?

Recently a report has been published by Goldman Sachs analysts exploring the question “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” The idea behind it being that as “one-shot cures” rid more and more people of their disease and/or medical condition, the need for that particular medicine will go down, as there fewer people to spread it. The report cited a study about treatments for Hepatitis C that have more than a 90 percent cure rate. As a result of that effective treatment, the need for that treatment decreased significantly, as did the profits from it. All of this begs the question, what in the world is wrong with medical companies?

It would seem that profit is the greater concern over improving lives and saving lives. This report appears to suggest that medical companies developing treatments and cures for sick people should focus their efforts on diseases that can and will appear on their own, without the need for carrier. It suggests that the research should focus more on disease like cancer or medical conditions like asthma not because they should try to cure it, but because it has a more sustainable business profit. That is to say, because people will always have to deal with these conditions, and therefore they can continue to profit off of the sick. And as for the people will curable or potentially curable disease or conditions? It seems they are just going to get ignore and be left to suffer. It is apparently a bad thing that so many people got treated for Hepatitis C.

What sort of world do we live in were profit is put above improving and saving lives? It is understandable that companies need to make a profit so they continue to fund medical research, but it should never be taken so as to even consider placing profit over the lives of their patients. If this is how things are going to go, how until we hear from our doctors that our illnesses are curable, but that they will not cure it because it would mean less money for them and the medical companies?

 

Photo from the Wall Street Journal

Surviving the Radford Plague

If you’re a student at Radford, chances are you’ve heard of the Radford Plague. It’s about as well-known to Radford students as bad parking options, the Dalton Dash, and the phrases light side and dark side. Unfortunately, it seems to be as big a part of Radford’s culture as the lack of A/C in Muse is, and we’re not sure which is worse. The Radford Plague, if you’ve been fortunate enough to have never heard of it or experienced it, is an epidemic of illness, whether that be the flu, flu-like symptoms, or a really bad cold, that spreads like wildfire. Perhaps it stems from our friendly nature here at Raddy and our love of hanging out and being with others that allows any kind of sickness to be so easily spread.

So if you’ve been like the majority of us and have gotten the Plague, here are a few tips that will help you make it through.

Drink fluids

Drinking fluids helps flush out your system and, of course, keeps you hydrated. If you have a fever, it helps you stay cool and replaces any fluids that you may lose. Water, soup, and tea are the best options. Juice with vitamin C is alright, but avoid sugary sodas and even drinks such as Gatorade which have a high sugar content. These will just make you more thirsty.

Get Plenty of Rest

When you’re sick, you need more sleep than usual so your body can fight off whatever’s making you sick, whether it be a virus or bacterial infection. Try not to stay up too late and avoid strenuous activities until you’ve felt better for at least a few days. If you push yourself too hard without having enough rest, you might have a relapse which will put you right back where you started. So rest up. I’m sure you don’t need too much convincing to skip a class and get some extra sleep.

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“When you’re sick, you need more sleep than usual so your body can fight off whatever’s making you sick, whether it be a virus or bacterial infection.” Photo from: www.images.medicaldaily.com

Take the right kind of medication

If you have a fever, make sure you’re taking something with acetaminophen (Tylenol), which will help bring the fever down. Acetaminophen also helps relieve aches, pains, and a sore throat. If you have bad cough, take something with dextromethorphan (Robitussin/Delsym). If you have a stuffy head and bad nasal congestion, make sure you take something with pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). If you have the full-blown Plague/flu (fever, aches and pains, fatigue, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat) Dayquil and Nyquil cover just about all those symptoms. Nyquil, of course, makes you tired and helps you sleep, so don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing while sleeping, like driving or operating a forklift. Follow the dosage instructions on the box, and take the medication after you start to feel better to make sure you don’t relapse.

Note: If your symptoms are severe and don’t get better over time, go see a doctor.

WASH YOUR HANDS

This is by far the best way to stop spreading the Plague and to prevent getting it in the first place. Wash your hands all the time—before you eat, before you snack, before you touch your face, mouth, or eyes, after touching germy things like keyboards, door handles, and remote controls, and, of course, after you use the bathroom. Hand sanitizer works in a pinch, but soap and warm water are the most effective.

Would you choose a lobotomy over fear?

There have been plenty of treatments for phobias over the years, and lobotomies aren’t the newest fad for this. However, one had recently been successful, as a 44-year old man lost a piece of his amygdala and, happily, his aversion to the creepiest of our little friends: the spider.

Though the surgery was not originally intended to cure the man’s arachnophobia, the side effect seems to be a welcome one. The procedure, known as a left temporal mesial lobectomy, was merely intended to deal with an abnormality in his left amygdala that doctors decided was the cause of his recent bout of seizures. Although the abnormality and accompanying seizures were part of his preexisting (and rather uncommon) condition known sarcoidosis, the bonus results are a happy outcome.

Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

The amygdala is responsible for our emotional responses, so it isn’t new information that this ability to cut out someone’s fear is possible. However, this is the first documented case in which a specific fear was completely removed from a human being through surgery. Researchers are still not sure how exactly this was possible or how they might be able to recreate the results, but it seems to depend at least partially on what type of fear is being targeted.

Arachnophobia is a specific fear triggered by a specific image or idea which leads to panic. When it comes to more general anxieties or fear, scientists do not yet know if the same results could be achieved.

In another case, however, a 44-year old mother was able to lose all her fear after illness permanently damaged her amygdala. Scientists have been studying her for over 20 years, yet despite their research, have not come to fully understand how the disease worked to only eliminate one emotion from the woman, despite her entire amygdala being damaged by the disease.

Perhaps this isn’t a time for science to be too involved in recreating a situation, though, and perhaps this is why it doesn’t seem to be something anyone is working too hard to develop. Even though it sounds like a great relief to feel no fear, the woman has recounted several stories in which she was in danger due to her inability to recognize the emotion. The same could perhaps be true and therefore an issue for the 44-year old man who no longer fears our creepy, eight-legged friends.

Without our emotions to drive us and warn us when necessary, are we still fully capable humans? Perhaps it’s better not to find out.

Mental health is just as important as physical health

We’ve all had to call in sick before, or bring a note to a professor as physical evidence that you were ill. But sometimes being mentally ill or just worn out is legitimate excuse, and needs to be treated as such. I know recently, I’ve really needed a mental break. But where’s the sympathy for those whose illnesses aren’t visible to the naked eye?

I recently visited a psychiatrist to discuss the fact that I’ve had panic attacks rather frequently over the summer. He nodded and agreed that you never forget panic attacks, because although they aren’t nearly as dangerous, it’s a lot like having a heart attack. They leave you physically and mentally exhausted. If you have a panic attack early in the day, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover and continue your day as if nothing happened, a lot like a heart attack.

Stress can really affect students. Graphic by Danielle Glumsic
Stress can really affect students. Graphic by Danielle Glumsic

Unfortunately though, most of the time a panic attack isn’t going to be a valid excuse for work as a heart attack would be. I recently had a very severe panic attack while I was at work. My boss had to take me to the side and bring me cold water as I slowly calmed down. He even asked if I needed to call someone or if I wanted to go home. Somehow, I fought through it and finished the work I needed to do, but he quickly sent me home. Almost as soon as I got home, I was passed out in my bed from being so exhausted.

Panic attacks can be very severe. I realize that heart attacks are very severe and I’m not downplaying them at all; however, I feel the need to emphasize that panic attacks should be taken more seriously. Most of the time it’s not so simple as “you need to calm down.” My most severe panic attack lasted about an hour and I was completely inconsolable. All you can really do is breathe, drink water and wait for it to go away.

In my experience, when I’m mentally off or an having a panic attack, being productive is pretty much impossible. Much like when you have the flu, all you want to do is lay in bed and wait until you feel better. A lot of times it’s better to make yourself get up and be productive to get your mind off of things, but it can be extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible.

So why do so many employers or teachers not accept “mental health days” as viable excuses? I suppose many people don’t believe what they can’t see. It’s a lot easier to see a runny nose or sore throat. Also, mental episodes aren’t really contagious, even though attitudes sometimes are. Working in a restaurant, you can’t contaminate a dish with anxiety like you can with germs.

It’s hard being one of these people who truly has a hard time getting out of my mental “funks”. It’s upsetting that mental health days aren’t viable excuses, all because you can’t go to MedExpress and get a note confirming you’re simply having an off day. Mental health needs to be treated sensitively. In my opinion, mental health can be even more important than physical health because a lot of times, your mental health affects how you feel physically and vice versa.

Book review: The fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best – emotional and gripping, with witty characters and a story that keeps you glued to the book until the end. The book follows a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster as she falls in love and learns important lessons about life, death and dreams. It is, as Markus Zusak says, “A novel of life and death and the people caught in between.”

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A touching story about a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster who learns about life, death and everything in between. Photo by Creative Commons.

However, some readers may not like the somber tone of the story. Most of the main characters are either dying or debilitated, or related to those who are. With that in mind, let’s delve deeper into the story. Continue reading Book review: The fault in our stars

Under the weather and overwhelmed?

As the seasons and the leaves on the trees begin to change, many Radford University students are finding themselves ill. Whether it’s the rumored pneumonia said to have originated from one freshman’s trip home last weekend or the infamous yet evasive swine flu, being sick is no fun when you have a college life to take care of.

Have your thermometers ready when it starts to rain. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.

High stress levels and a lack of sleep are both very common among college students, making campus the watering hole for the lions of the germ world. If you find yourself with a runny nose, scratchy throat, raspy voice or clogged sinuses, follow these tips to ensure you get better fast. Continue reading Under the weather and overwhelmed?

For the love of Dalton

I find recent accusations in “Bottom line, our food should be better” that Dalton dining hall’s food is unfairly disgusting, offensive and untrue. I find the food is so exhilarating that I make a point to eat there every day.

For one, Dalton’s food gives me a rush. You never know what you’re going to get, even if you check the online menu ahead of time. Oftentimes Dalton’s staff will change the menu without posting it, so there’s always something new and unexpected. So what if you wanted pesto and mozzarella pizza? Try the liver and ketchup pizza instead! Sometimes you might get an added bonus with cheese pizza that is actually cheese pizza with bacon in it! Don’t eat bacon? Too bad.

Looks delicious! Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The staff also takes great care in garnishing each and every food to make it more appealing. Once the gluten-free French toast was garnished with specks of parsley, and it was very classy. Last year, I often came across pasta bakes garnished with shredded carrot. If food is an art form, Dalton dining hall has taken it to a new level.

There’s also nothing quite like liquefied lasagna and vegetables that don’t resemble their regular state. Less chewing means faster food consumption, after all. So what if the steamed broccoli is just stalks? The heads are too chewy, anyway. If you want to chew a lot, maybe you should pick up a slice of brisket. There’s enough fat on the brisket for a healthy 10 minutes of chewing.

Baked potato anyone? Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

If you’re looking for clean utensils and cups, you’re probably just a picky person in general. Trying to find clean utensils and cups in Dalton is a sport; it’s survival of the fittest in this world, and if you can’t dig for a clean spoon you’ll be wiped out in no time.

The same goes for not being able to recognize allergens in the desserts. If you can’t tell there are nuts in the coffee cake topping, maybe you deserve that allergic reaction.

I’ve also heard several complaints about the “Dalton dash” phenomenon where students have symptoms like spontaneous diarrhea, vomiting and wanting their mommy. I have to fit into a wedding dress next summer, so I consider it a dietary aid. Getting plenty of exercise, sleep and the “Dalton dash” is a surefire way to keep that freshmen 15 off, and maybe lose another 30 pounds.

Next time you’re in Dalton dining hall, be sure to thank the staff that have to serve you these wonderful meals. Maybe if you’re nice they’ll give you an extra big glob of congealed, over-peppered macaroni and cheese.