Mar 24, 2012

A New Direction

Suzanne worked at one of the pediatric hospitals in Phoenix. While at work she experienced a sudden onset of pain in her left arm. She was taken to the Emergency Room and quickly assessed. She developed numbness on the left side of her face with loss of muscle tone. The pain in her left arm gradually turned to numbness. An IV was started and she was given aspirin. We were called to transport her to a hospital that treated adult stroke patients. Her symptoms were classic for patients in the early stages of an evolving CVA.

I introduced my partner and I as we got her packaged for the transfer. As we disconnected their equipment and attached ours, I gathered her history, which was significant only for occasional anxiety and depression.

En route, I jotted down as much as I could recall about her present illness and made contact with the receiving hospital. They were expecting us and had the stroke team on stand-by.

"Can I share a bit of advice with you?" I asked.


"Have you heard about the new cardiology?"

She had no idea what I was talking about.

"Years ago, a few cardiologists began studying heart disease from a different perspective. What they found is amazing. They realized that the model of heart disease and stroke they'd been telling us about for years is wrong. All these years they've been telling us that heart disease and stroke are primarily a problem of high cholesterol. But they found that the real cause isn't cholesterol. It's chronic inflammation."

She was surprised to hear this. And I was surprised when I first heard about it two years ago. And if you're surprised, I have some eye opening news to share with you in future messages.

I've reached an uncomfortable place in my earthly journey. I've been a junk-food junkie my entire life and I've been very happy with it. But God has been speaking to me lately about making some big changes in my eating habits. My days as a cookie chomping, brownie gulping medic are numbered.

One of the features I'll be adding to this website is an occasional discussion on health and nutrition. Don't ask for details. I haven't got them. This is something new for me and I have a lot of learning to do.

I gave Suzanne a quick lesson on how inflammation works in our bodies, creating an environment that makes us targets for stroke, heart disease and diabetes. I recommended Doctor Stephen Sinatra's book "Reverse Heart Disease Now" as a place for her to start her education.

We arrived and transferred Suzanne to the waiting stroke team. She asked if she could pee. They said no. They had tight time restraints to work with in getting her to CT and beginning the treatment and told her she'd have to hold it. (Whatever happened to professional courtesy? She's a nurse for Pete's sake.)

I got her signature and headed for an open area at the nurse's station. I took a deep breath before finishing my report.

As I wrote, the busy bees of the ER gracefully raced up and down the hallways, moving the sick and injured from room to room in caffeine induced states of semi- euphoria.

Such is life under the red lights.

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