Inkwell: Authors and Artists
flash gordon md (flash) Mon 5 May 08 12:58
sorry i was m.i.a. - had a column to finish. anyhow, sleepiness when riding is definitely a cause of fatalities. in fact, the most common drug found in the bloodstream of general aviation pilots who die in crashes is antihistamines. antihistamines, as you probably know, include older "sedating" ones like benadryl and chlortrimeton, and the newer less-sedating ones like claritin, zyrtec and allegra. of all of these, only allegra is really "non-sedating" - zyrtec is pretty sedating, claritin a little less so. the best way i know of to not get sleepy when riding is not to use an alarm clock. if you do use one to wake up, then by definition you're sleep deprived. when i'm on a road trip i won't use any kind of alarm. if i need to get an early start, i'll go to sleep early. oh, and as far as riding to the Very Boring Rally in duluth in august: i just can't afford it. every day i'm not at work costs me $2k (my employees and the expenses continue whether i'm there or not). and the folks putting on the rally didn't offer to pay any of my travel or lodging expenses - i'm hoping i can hit 'em up for a few meals, at least.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Mon 5 May 08 18:33
The financial part of the medical business appears to be getting tougher over the years. They are going to need to have physicians get an MBA along with their MD if they want to succeed in private practice. When you have mentioned your fixed expenses here and in other conferences, I am always stunned at how much it cost to keep a medical office open and running. You sure have to see a lot of clients to make it pay, given that the government and insurance companies are always trying to reimburse as little as possible. Seems like working for an organization like Kaiser might be quite appealing to many physicians. There is forever on the news stories about Wellness programs (unrelated to the WELL) where patients are encouraged to check in with their primary care providers on a regular basis to stay healthy. Only problem is the American medical industry doesn't really appear to support this. I hope you guys can get that together, along with medical insurance for all, etc. It seems like a lot of the fun of being a physician must disappear under all the financial stress. No?
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Mon 5 May 08 20:29
>had a column to finish. What's the topic this time?
Joe Ehrlich (static) Mon 5 May 08 21:49
"How column-writing deadlines increase anxiety among motorcyclists"
Robert Hill (rob) Tue 6 May 08 06:39
flash, while you were out I was talking about a burning in the eyes I often get when I take a motorcycle trip. I was wondering what causes that. BS&2ndG has a chapter on the eyes but it is mainly on how to get stuff out of them. Useful, but not helpful for my problem. I wear sunglasses, but maybe there are better ones? Or is there something else?
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Tue 6 May 08 06:42
(rob) - I guess suggesting keeping your eyes closed while riding would not be helpful. Is this happening with a helmet with a good face shield? If not, how about goggles?
I dare you to make less sense! (jet) Tue 6 May 08 19:46
<flash>, other than injuries due to accidents, what sort of health issues to riders have that non-riders don't? For example, I can imagine the Harley crowd having hearing problems from open pipes and all of us having more respiratory problems thanks to directly breathing in air on the road. After a day of riding in SF and the bay area I can sometimes scrape black junk off my face; after I changed my first cabin air filter in the car I know why.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Tue 6 May 08 21:07
and how about any problems due to riding position. are there more back issues/injuries riding sport bikes. I know I don't like to ride a bike without a windshield. I like the upright riding position. If I don't have a windshield, I feel too much pressures on my shoulders from the wind, and that makes riding uncomfortable. So I always have a windshield.
flash gordon md (flash) Wed 7 May 08 10:03
good questions. the column i just wrote was about bugs and how they can affect motorcyclists, whether it's a bee inside the helmet (which has happened to me - and i'm allergic to beestings) or other common bugs that bug us. it's interesting that you mention dry eyes when riding - that's another topic that my editor suggested (along w/ bugs). maybe i'll make that one of my next columns. but keeping the wind out of your eyes should keep them from getting dry: i've seen sunglasses that can act as goggles - they have foam around each eye to keep in the humidity. most everything i write about in the book is applicable to non-motorcyclists. in fact, i just had a couple here at the office who wanted to buy one of my books - they'd read the copy in the waiting area of the berkeley heart lab (a cardiovascular risk assessment lab / gym / counseling center where i send folks) and wanted to buy one. neither of them were motorcyclists.
Ed Ward (captward) Wed 7 May 08 10:19
Which brings up a question of mine: I'm never getting on another motorcycle if I can help it, and certainly not as the driver. But I like your no-nonsense, but understandable approach to health. How much of the info in this book would you say is biker-specific (ie, most of the rest of us will probably never have to deal with road-rash)?
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Wed 7 May 08 11:24
As I mentioned earlier, I believe this is much more of a book about flash as a physician than as a biker. He happens to be writing these columns in a motorcycle publication, so it is aimed toward bikers. But this is about the body and his approach to that as a physician. There is very little in the book that would only concern bikers, however. Like most things in the book that flash talks about, one hopes that one never has to deal with any of that (road rash, things in the eye, depression, obseity, etc.), regardless of whether one is a biker or not. But I would say less than half the stuff in the book is a bit more likely to happen to bikers than non bikers. The rest just happens to everyone. So bikers may be more likely to have to deal with some of this stuff, but is human stuff. One of the strengths of the book is how flash explains how the body's systems work. He is giving us an education here is what is going on inside of us. I think this leaves us with a better understanding of how to triage oneself when something just doesn't seem right. As for bugs, ugh. I guess if someone has never been hit in the face by a bug at 75 mph, they have no idea how they sting! I mentioned earlier I like riding with a windshield to take pressure off my shoulders. The other huge advantage of a windshield is that the bugs hit the windshield, and not my face! I like something to ride with the face shield of my helmet open (I am also wearing sunglasses). If not for the windshield, I would occasionally take a bee or mosquite to the cheek bone. And yes, mosquitos do hurt at 75 mph. So, flash, do we get a special preview of what you are going to say in the column about bugs. Perhaps you can give us the equivalent of a "coming attraction" that we might see at the movie theater, making us want to run/ride out and buy the magazine.
flash gordon md (flash) Wed 7 May 08 12:38
motorcycle consumer news is a subscription only publication - no advertising. a "preview of coming attractions" wouldn't really do much. as for how much in the book is biker only - well, the two chapters you can read in the preview here: http://www.whitehorsepress.com/download/products/bs2g.pdf probably include one of the most "bike specific" chapters, which is one on hypothermia. however, it includes a lot of non bike specific info, too. here are a list of the chapters: Introduction Injuries caused by accidents Pavement Dermatitis Skin Infections First Aid, at Last Saving Face Shoulders Tennis Elbow Ribs Don't Miss This! Potential troubles on the road Hypothermia Rednecks Feet, Don't Fail Me Now Ouch! Bend or Break? Cramps 101 Numb Hands Bad Vibes What's a Joint Like This Doing in a Nice Girl Like You? Get Back Backs Gone Bad A Pain in the Neck These Old Bones Don't Blink! Earplugs The Balancing Act Your Gut Feelings Count Farts Stoned For Men Only Hemorrhoids Concerns on long trips Monkey Butt Born to Run Constipation: The Straight Poop Effect of emotions on riding Testosterone Poisoning Hearts Depression Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Fitness for Riding The Common Cold:Nothing to Sneeze At Allergies Sinuses Asthma Smoking: Don't Say, "I'll Never Smoke Again" Asleep at the Handlebars Brain Farts...Brrp!! Fighting Riding Suit Shrink Wide Load How to Keep Your Internal Combustion Engine Running Fitness here's a link to the product page at the publisher, which includes a few reviews: http://www.whitehorsepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=5708 and here's the amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/4r9hvo note that it's in stock at amazon, and five bucks cheaper than the publisher's price.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Wed 7 May 08 14:45
Ain't that something about Amazon. I really, really like to use local book merchants when I can. But sometimes it is so much easier to use Amazon, especially when it is a book that would not normally be in stock in a regular book store. And at cheaper prices, too. Amazon's one click buying of a book makes it so easy. My understanding is that about 3/4 of the local, independent bookstores have gone out of business over the last number of years, killed irst by the big chain bookstores, and then by Amazon. It's a shame because I still like browsing books, and one cannot do that as easily on the Intenet. But for convenience and price, Amazon has my busiess a lot of time time. Your book I am much more likely to be on the shelves of a bookstore since it is a "popular" book, as opposed to most of the stuff I buy from Amazon, which are books written for a very narrow niche market, often by scholars. It is the type of book I might buy if I were browsing it in a bookstore, rather than on the web. Something visceral about being able to pick up the book. And I'm kidding you about getting a preview. I'm not a subscriber to Motorcycle Consumer News right now. My subscription ran out and I haven't gotten around to renewing it. I will eventually. It is a magazine I have subscribed to on and off for many years. But for all those years, it is the only motorcycle magazine I subscribed to. I really like that MCN gets by without advertising from the motorcycle companies. A magazine that lives on advertising creates a conflict of interest for the writers. It is difficult ot criticize the company that is indirectly paying your salary through advertising. While most of those journalists I believe have integrity, I just have a feeling that their opinions are at least unconsciously swayed by knowing the company whose bike they are talking about is also paying their salary. At MCN, that conflict doesn't exist. So I trust them more.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 7 May 08 15:09
So what is MonkeyButt?? I saw something in the hardware store the other day called Anti-MonkeyButt Powder, and I was going WTF??
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Wed 7 May 08 15:19
flash will tell you more but it is what sometimes happens to one's butt and inner thighs when you've been riding all day in hot weather, sweating down there, moving around a bit, and having the skin rub against your pants and seat. you get the idea. I'll let the good doctor fill you in on all the details....
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 7 May 08 15:37
That's probably a good enough description!
flash gordon md (flash) Wed 7 May 08 22:23
http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb292/adelinechanz/100_0803.jpg good case of monkeybutt (safe for work). yes, lots of local bookstores have been put out of business: that is kind of sad. so, too, have many travel agents (and i had a cousin who is- that is, *was* - a travel agent (before orbitz et. al). the times, they are a-changing.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Wed 7 May 08 22:54
There is an interestingn juxtoposition here. The picture in the above link might be safe for work, but not for lunchtime. Usually it's the other way around. The times are a changing in the motorcycle world, too. Something I thought I would never see but is just about here now, electric motorcycles. I guess hybrid ones can't be far behind. The same, I guess is true for medicine. Did you have to make any changes to your columns for the book because the medicine changed in the time between when you wrote them for the magazine and when the book was published?
flash gordon md (flash) Thu 8 May 08 20:39
no, there weren't many changes. but one thing that did change was my knowledge about fat metabolism. if you read about the "thrift gene" theory, it explains how humans evolved to have great fat storing ability - it's a survival trait for hard times. i've found that many problems ranging from "middle age spread" to mild depression seem to have to do with that. basically, if folks don't burn 300 calories daily (the equivalent of an hour's walking) they're likely to have a lot of problems.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Fri 9 May 08 10:44
You brought up some interesting points in the book about weight gain and the problems we have as a result as we get older. I have a personal "theory" on all this that just seems to make sense to me but I have never run it by any scientist or medical person. I have a feeling that nature, for most of human history, prefered people to be able to gain a lot of weight easily. Those are the genes that nature favors most and here is my pet theory as to why. Nature wants us to survive and to be able to raise children, so the species can go on. In order to do this, nature has made it easy for some of us to gain weight easily. The reason nature is doing this is that it wants us as parents to be able to survive years when there is a famine. Those of us who have been able to store lots of body fat are much less likely to die in a famine and thus we can be around to continue to raise our children. I also suspect that nature doesn't care much about what happens to us after age 40-45. By that time, our children are raised and having their own children. So nature doesn't care if we develop heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or any other age related malady. Nature only wants us to be able to survive long enough to be able to raise our children, and that job is done by age 40-45. What nature never figured on was modern medicine, and the 24 hour supermarket. Modern medicine has enabled us to live longer, and the 24 hour supermarket has made food available in any quantity at any time. So we always have a lot of food to eat and gain weight easily. Those of us, like myself, who have a lot of trouble gaining weight were not natures preferred body type for most of human history, but we have the preferred body types now in the age of plenty of food. I would never have survived a famine, whereas others who gain weight easily would survive. So now we are stuck with a population where most of us gain weight easily, and have all the medical problems associated with weight gain. So, flash, any comments on this theory?
Cogito? (robertflink) Fri 9 May 08 15:23
While waiting for flash: "When we get what we want, that's when our troubles begin."
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Fri 9 May 08 18:34
hi there (robertflink) - Wellcome to the discussion. What you just said sounds like a variation of "You should never pray for anything, you might just get it".
flash gordon md (flash) Sun 11 May 08 21:30
yes, that's the "thrifty gene" theory i mentioned earlier. as i posted before, you need to burn about 300 calories a day to convince your body it's not "in a cave." it should get burned in at least 15 minute / 75 calorie segments, so if you're walking, walk at least 3/4 of a mile non-stop. the best way to lose weight is to convince your body that you're not "stuck in the cave" and don't *need* to keep holding on to the fat. i believe the chapter that talks about that is the one called 'internal combustion'.
Michael Psycle Bettinger (mcpsycle) Sun 11 May 08 22:07
I wish you had some special advice for someone like myself to gain weight. I'm not kidding. I have a long term issue with losing weight and having a difficult time keeping it on. If I get even a little stressed, my appetite shuts down. I've dealt with this with my doctor and nutritionist a lot over the years so we've gone over all the major options, etc. So I'm not expecting you to come up with anything new for me. Now I know a lot of people with just the opposite condition would imagine they would love to be in my position. And it does leave me with a lean, muscular body. So I can't complain on that account. But skinny me, who would not survive a famine in ancient times, actually has considerable trouble putting on weight even with a 24 hour supermarket available. So, any general advice to someone like myself to gain weight. (btw, I eat the classic health diet, very few sugars or simple starches and just enough fat, not a lot. mostly complex carbs and proteins)
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 12 May 08 00:23
Well, that's your problem right there. Not enough sugar and fat. Fried chicken, french fries, ice cream, pancakes and waffles with butter and syrup...
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