Lest We Forget

Today is Memorial Day.  Until I became engaged to a retired army colonel, I never truly understood what that meant.  He’s told me.  Even with keeping the worst of it to himself, from Bear’s memories I understand… and the sacrifices of these men and women were horrific.  It is not  ‘happy’ Memorial Day; it is a somber day to remember what our countrymen and countrywomen have given for us.

A friend from my theater life, James David Porter( Arizona Curriculum Theater),  posted this on Facebook today:

“Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the 1860s, to honor the 625,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War. The first Decoration Day event was organized by freed African-American slaves in 1865 in Charleston, S.C., where a parade of 10,000, led by 3,000 black schoolchildren, took place to honor the dead around a racetrack that had been used as a burial ground.”

Once you’re over being surprised that Memorial (instituted as Decoration) Day  was orginally organized by freed slaves, pay attention to the part that  mentions it was “to honor the dead.”  Organ donations are not the only way our dead offer us life. Oh, and thank  you to Larry Jacobson, a former colleague a million years ago, for locating the picture above.

I’ve  got an exercise video for you to demonstrate that exercise CAN be fun.  We went to Nathaniel Smalley’s (he and his wife, Elizabeth had two swing dance clubs here until recently)  Feather Focus’s photography exhibit Friday night where Bill Morse was dj for some East Coast Swing Dancing.  I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to do some exercise I actually liked!  My partner is MacGyver Mann who teaches at Gmann’s in Mesa (Arizona) on Thursday nights.  I never met him before so you can appreciate what a good lead he is. It’s night, it’s outdoors and it’s dark.   But it is fun and got my heart rate up!  Can you catch the smile on my face? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHPReqcTMIU&feature=channel&list=UL. Thank you, Bear, for getting any video at all for us with your wonderful, magical phone.

Ready for some kidney news? First, do you remember my disappointment with the medical jewelry company that sent the alert bracelet with a note saying that it should not be immersed in water, as in bathing or swimming?  I don’t know about you, but I have this habit of showering every day and that includes immersing myself in water.  I also have arthritis which means taking jewelry off and then putting it back on is a nightmare – even with the arthritis helper made specifically for this purpose.  My mother loved that little device; I’m just not co-ordinated enough with my left hand to use it on a bracelet worn on my right hand since I’m right handed. We can now bypass the whole problem.  Read on:

Tattoos Replace Bracelets for Medical Alerts

By Chris  Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today

Published: May 25, 2012


PHILADELPHIA   —  As more people with diabetes replace their medical alert bracelets with tattooed warnings, there might be a need for a standard design and body location, a researcher here said.

“The tattoo has to be easily recognizable to first responders,” Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, from the Sparrow Diabetes Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing, said during a press conference.

“It may be that we need guidelines for medical alert tattoos for both patients and tattoo artists,” Aldasouqi said. “Should tattoos be prescriptive? I don’t know. We’re at the beginning of this dialogue and I think it’s an important one.”

Medical alert tattoos for diabetes are a relatively new phenomenon and Aldasouqi admitted he has no hard data on the number of people who choose ink over metal to alert first responders in case of an emergency.

He initially became aware of medical tattoos about 3 years ago when a patient showed up with one. His search of the literature, however, produced only two case reports. But a search on the Internet revealed ample evidence that the practice is alive and well.

“You can find groups of people discussing their medical tattoos,” he said.

Rick Lopez, who works at Hard Ink Tattoo in Philadelphia, told MedPage Today that he recently inked a diabetes alert on a young man.

“He brought the bracelet into the shop and I just copied it onto his wrist,” Lopez said.

He said he has tattooed a lot of “cancer ribbons” on customers, generally family members of those with cancer who want to show support, but also on cancer survivors as well. And he has inked the autism puzzle ribbon. But only one medical alert.

Aldasouqi and colleagues reported a case presentation here of a 32-year-old women with type 1 diabetes who decided to shed the alert jewelry for a permanent ink reminder on her wrist.

She said she was frustrated with the numerous broken necklaces and bracelets throughout her life, and the ensuing costs of them.

Last year in the American Family Physician journal, Aldasouqi published another case report of a man who tattooed his diabetic condition onto his wrist.

As the practice of medical tattoos grows, he wants to ensure it’s headed in the right direction. Paramedics have to be educated about these tattoos so they recognize them during an emergency. There perhaps should be some standardization in design and location, such as the wrist, so it’s easier to identify the tattoo as an alert, he said.

He cited a case where a man had the letters “DNR” inked on his chest. During an emergency, first responders thought the tattoo might be a directive for “do not resuscitate.” As it turned out, the man had lost a bet in his youth, which resulted in those letters emblazoned on his chest.

Aldasouqi has recently teamed up with a colleague from the University of Helsinki to produce peer-reviewed studies on the phenomenon and to begin a registry of patients with medical tattoos.

You can read the article in its orginal form at: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AACE/32916.

One of my step-daughers, Kelly Garwood, is gloriously tatooed (or is called inked?).  Here’s hoping she never needs to add a medical tatoo to the collection of art on her body.

Before I sign off, a little reminder that while I’m donating books as fast as I can at urgicare centers, and PCPs’, nephrologists’ and urologists’ offices, there are still plenty left for you to order a personalized one for the discount price of $8.00.  I finally figured out the price had to be less than that of the digital copy of the book or where’s the discount?

Also, myckdexperience.com is no longer a viable address, so if you’d rather order digital or print (not discounted or personalized), go through Amazon or B & N.

The nephrologist I mentioned who wanted to sell our books together is becoming disillusioned since neither online selling site is willing to do this.  I wonder if we should offer the two book set via our blogs.  What’s your opinion here?

Until next week,

Keep living your life!