Thursday, September 27, 2007

I love this photo

Reminds me that an ER doc at UCLA is doing some amazing work on the Thai/Burmese border. Check out Tom Lee, MD and the Global Health Access Program.

Off to bed, immunology has got the best of me. In another life, I will be a photojournalist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hipster Doctor

First off, many thanks to John -- a voracious blog consumer -- for finding this for me and pulling me out of a studying-for-finals funk.

So there's some serious buzz about Jay Parkinson, MD MPH, who has just set up shop in Brooklyn. Williamsburg, to be exact, which is like the Indus Valley for hipsters. According to the WSJ Health Blog, he's got no office, makes only house calls, and manages his practice on an iPhone and a laptop. His super-sexy web site posits some pretty good ideas about the doctor-patient relationship, and in medicine in general:
"I believe that health care should be accessible, affordable, and personal." Definitely.
"We'll make decisions about your health together ... my main goal is a solid understanding of your own health." Sure thing.
"We can solve small problems early before they explode into something large and costly." Good thinking.

Here's the deal: he's a genius, with a brilliant business plan. But he's not a hero. Er, not my hero. (Sorry, John.)

He treats patients ages 18 to 40 -- a relatively healthy demographic. (I could insert all sorts of snarky comments about latte burns and fixed-gear-bikes-without-brakes accidents, but I'm not that kind of person.) He's bringing a fairly tried-and-true practice model called "concierge medicine" to the Williamsburg crowd. You pay for 24/7 access, a warm and fuzzy doctor-patient relationship, and his connections to "some of the best ranked hospitals in the world with the highest quality specialists."

But what if ...
Something goes wrong? Even his quoted "bargain" price for a trip to the neurologist (for my pesky new problem with migraines, say) is pretty steep: $850.
You don't have the fortune of living in lovely Williamsburg, or you just turned 41?
Maybe you turn out to have a chronic health condition that Dr. Jay just can't manage over his iPhone?

Parkinson isn't the only one who's caught on to health insurance for the hip, young, and healthy. Blue Cross offers Tonik, a no-frills, bargain insurance plan (with a slightly less cool web site.)

I guess Parkinson will improve health care for 1,000 fortunate Williamsburg residents. He seems like a well-meaning guy with a nice smile. But I can't get behind fixing a broken system by opting out of it. 45 million Americans are uninsured right now and another 50 million could be financially ruined by a major illness. Parkinson's got an MPH from Hopkins; he knows this.

I could go on. I should. But I have to study, so in 3 3/4 years, I can flash my winning smile for a county hospital badge, one that's got my name on it with an MD at the end.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Alice Waters and the Three-Legged Chicken

If I were a chicken, I would like to go out as a bowl of Ca Ri Ga -- Vietnamese chicken curry.
I've taken the recipe on as The One Thing I Cook, and I had a craving for it this afternoon. (Photo by John)

I pondered the chicken's point of view while driving 14.6 miles round trip to purchase lemon grass and other wholesome, organic ingredients at the Whole Foods in Glendale. I drove the whole way without A/C (to save the planet), so I felt hot and sweaty when I arrived. Just as if I had ridden my bike.

Inside the supermarket utopia, I wandered around in a daze as usual (must be the hemp shopping bags) and forgot to buy, um, chicken. Then I stared intently at a woman while she talked on her phone the entire time the checker checked her out, bagged her groceries, and processed her check. (Who writes checks?)

So after a brief moment of earth-mama joy when I thought a big green snake was crossing the freeway (it was a garden hose) I drove over to Ralph's and bought chicken -- the Picnic Pak. I am such a white hippie girl, but raw chicken on the bone so grosses me out.

Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be studying for finals.

Alice Waters is publishing "The Art of Simple Food" -- it's hailed as "The Joy of Cooking" for the Chez Panisse crowd. It's supposed to have easy recipes for cooks who like that scene but don't always have the time to squeeze their own agave nectar. (Would tequila be close enough?) It sounds like a good way to venture out from the comfort of the Ca Ri Ga.

PS - here's the recipe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Into the (Sort Of) WIld

My good friends are in Anchorage, Alaska right now. They've been blogging since they got there this summer. Kirsten is one of my best friends from Santa Barbara, and Chris, her husband, is a professor on sabbatical. They have a son, Soren. Their writing covers navigating moose on bicycle, recipes for 60 pounds of halibut, and knitting squid hats. They're funny in the best way - dry, and they take pictures of moose poop.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Autumn Migration

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year to winter in Mexico. (I wish I could say the same.) So as my orange and black winged friends head south, I'm migrating my blog back to Blogger. Interim posts can be read on my on-again, off-again MySpace page.

In a nutshell:
I quit medical school. Er, took a Leave of Absence.
I met a wonderful person named John who makes me laugh and corrects my grammar.
I started riding my bicycle again.
I started medical school again.

My sister bought a horse, which I thought would cause an uproar in la familia, but he's more like our first grandchild. His name is Bugsy ... I'm crocheting him a blanket right now. In brown, I guess.

I'm at that age where people I assumed would be around forever aren't anymore. A Wrinkle in Time author Madeline L'Engle is one of those people. She passed away on Septmeber 8th at 88. "There is such a thing as a tesseract."

PS - When you (I) constantly blog about yoga and transcendence, it usually means that you're (I'm) a complete mess on the inside. Good blogging demands mess on the outside. I promise to do my best. No more yoga poses unless they enhance your sex life, but we're still freeing Tibet. On bicycles.