Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cell phones are great, but......

Now that's a big "but" to think about. The other day I was in my office examining a patient. As I was going through his medical history with him, his cell phone rang. In this day and age, I'm quite used to the patient's cell phones ringing. What I'm not used to is what happened next. This gentleman calmly raises a hand, a clear indication for me to stop what I'm doing. I was a little annoyed as it was a busy day and I was in a bit of a rush. But I stopped and waited while he answered the phone. But that's not all, listen to what he said next.
He cupped his phone and said, "Excuse me, Doctor. Can you please step outside? This is a personal call."
I was absolutely floored. He was asking me to step outside from my own office!
"Who is it? The White House?" I asked.
"No doc, more important. It's my girlfriend."
I just held up my hands and stepped outside.

As civilization has evolved, there have been numerous inventions and innovations. Rules, regulations and manners pertaining to those inventions have followed, but after a certain lag. When we drive our vehicles, we follow certain rules. When we eat food, there are certain table manners to be followed. When you go to a social event, there's a certain etiquette to be adhered to.

So what about cell phones and texting? Most people are considerate, but some are downright rude. My biggest pet peeve is when people will suddenly start texting in the middle of a conversation, without as much as an "excuse me!" Unless you are texting the name of a life-saving medicine for somebody at the other end, the message can wait a few minutes. I know good manners sometimes simply means putting up with other people's bad manners, but there is always a limit to what you can, and should tolerate. Recently there was a study by a very reputable university to ascertain "Does texting, while driving, increase the chance of accidents?" Do you really need a study to prove that?!!

Now I firmly believe we all should t
reat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to us - not because they are nice, but because we are. But I think it is the responsibility of real friends to point out our shortcomings. If everybody around me is nothing but an ego-booster, I'm never going to improve and my shortcomings will worsen, to my own detriment.

Our manners and etiquette go a long way in defining us as a person. It reflects our true nature, our education and our upbringing. Bill Maher once said, "Give me 10 minutes with a person-- 5 sober and 5 after a few drinks, and Ill write an essay on his character."

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. ~ Emily Post


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is laughter really the best medicine?

We've heard this over and over again for a long time. So is it true? Does laughter really improve your health? When we laugh, we generally are happy. And we are happy more often when we are with people we connect to, be it family or friends.

Research has shown that laughter is associated with higher pain tolerance and lower blood sugar levels in Diabetes. And laughter appears to burn calories too. A research group at Vanderbilt university conducted a small study in which they tried to ascertain the loss of calories while laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burnt 50 calories. While the results are intriguing, we shouldn't be too hasty in ditching the treadmill. One piece of chocolate has about 50 calories; at the rate of 50 calories per hour, losing one pound would require 12 hours of concentrated laughter!

Dr. Miller, Chief of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland, had research projects which concluded that people who laugh more are less likely to develop heart disease. He says the recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day.

One of the biggest problems with laughter research is that it's very difficult to determine cause and effect. For instance, a study might show that people who laugh more are less likely to be sick. But that might be because people who are healthy have more to laugh about. Or researchers might find that, among a group of people with the same disease, people who laugh more have more energy. But that could be because the people who laugh more have a personality that allows them to cope better.

As Mark Twain once said, "There's one common denominator in people that I love -- they all make me laugh."

What I'm trying to say is if we enjoy laughing, isn't that reason enough to laugh? Do you really need a prescription?

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~ E E Cummings


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Think before you..... go "Organic"!

The other day, at our local grocery store, as I was checking out, the half a dozen bananas I picked up scanned for $12!
"I think your scanner is messed up," I said to the cashier. "A banana can't be for $2?"
"Organic bananas, sir. And these are on sale today," he replied. "You want them?"
"On sale? So what's the difference between organic bananas and regular bananas?" I asked.
He just shrugged. "More expensive..... and more natural, I guess," he said.
More natural? And regular bananas are synthetic? Churned out in a factory in China? Please... give me a break!
Then the same day at home, my wife was all excited because a friend of ours brought a bag of "Organic sugar" for her. So I asked him about the difference between organic sugar and regular sugar. I got the same answer that I got from the grocery store cashier -- a shoulder shrug, and "I guess its more natural than regular sugar!"
So what's all this talk about organic food? Do we get it because it's healthy or just because it's chic? Is "Organic food" just like any other brand name? All these questions came up in my mind, so I researched a little bit. There is a lot of information out there about the real 'organicity' of organic foods. And not all of it is good. I have nothing against organic food, but I think we should at least think a little before joining the bandwagon. A lot of us (including me, unfortunately) believe that if a product is more expensive, it has to be better than its cheaper counterpart. We have an environmental hysteria of sorts going on. I think a part of it is justified, but a lot of folks do tend to go overboard.

A lot of us also suffer from a belief we are so intelligent & smart, that as a consequence we don't even try to ascertain facts before forming an opinion. As Oscar Wilde once said in a lighter mood-- "I am so clever that sometimes even I don't understand a single word of what I am saying!" Always remember, that it is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

So nothing against organic food, but please research, think and then make an opinion. The video clip below highlights what I have tried to convey to you all.