I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. My second grade teacher can tell you that; but you’re not here for a history lesson. My dream came true at the University of Kansas School of Medicine followed by training in Allergy/Immunology at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. I will never be disappointed with the privilege of caring for patients, but it takes hard work and recommendations change. My passion is to understand the underlying “cause” of annoying symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, not breathing through my nose, and generally not feeling up to my potential. This website will be used not only to share information about allergy, asthma, and recurrent infections, but I’ll put important educational material right at your fingertips–finally all in one place!
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I for one am tired how my health score is tied to my existence as a person rather than who I really am. “How to keep up your credit score, what income bracket I’m in, what’s my IQ” are nagging reminders that I may not be anything more than just a number and not a unique person on this planet. Health care is fast approaching this same pigeonhole similar to banks and retailers, but it’s not all bad. Ever heard of personalized medicine?
#Personalized medicine has some pretty awesome benefits on the horizon, but “what’s the catch?” My cholesterol has to be below 120, cigarettes at zero, and my daily cups of coffee can’t be over 5 if I have any hope of living past 80;you just can’t get away from numbers.
According to Wikipedia, Personalized medicine, also termed precision medicine, is a medical procedure that separates patients into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. So if numbers and health are an integral part of the future of health care, is there such a thing as an allergy or asthma number? Wouldn’t it be nice to find out which asthma inhaler is best for you based on “personalized medicine?” Or what if you suffer from chronic hives and can’t find the cause? Personalized medicine involves many more diseases that just asthma and allergy–just look at the link below, but I have a list as well. Continue reading Something about numbers→
I’m often asked about #immunodeficiency–does my body fight infection like it’s supposed to? Is this baby’s immune system normal? Obviously, probably not. Fortunately, #Stevens Johnson syndrome is quite rare, but antibody deficiency is NOT rare and many strategies can be performed to improve the situation.
I often start the conversation about #immunodeficiency: “are you worried about how well you fight infection?” Since immunodeficiency comes in many flavors, there are no absolutes to checking the immune system, but here’s some pointers that are helpful. Remember, the body fights infection in compartments, so test for something in each compartment and you’ll hit a home run with the bases loaded.
Ever notice how everyone has #allergies these days? I kid you not, almost everyday, a patient will tell me that #Tulsa (where I practice) has more allergies than any other place in the country. The irony of it all, is so did patients in Kansas, and patients say the same thing in Virginia and Texas. You get my point–we all love to be known as the Allergy Capital of the World!Maybe it’s because allergies make us feel so miserable, and we love to hear stories about how to deal with the nemesis. Or maybe we want some “inside information” to share with our friends & family who also suffer from allergy. Whatever the reason for our obsession with allergy, you can’t argue with the fact that good allergy advise is not only helpful for better quality of life, but it’s crucial in making sure that allergy sufferers avoid heeding the WRONG advice for treating #hay fever. This is the passion I experienced in order to complete a fellowship training in allergy– I wanted to be able to interact with patients about their #allergic symptoms on their journey to good health. But wait, why practice a specialty that has so much incorrect information on-line and no doubt, “everyone’s an expert in allergy” when you could be doing real medicine to treat someone’s heart attack? Here are four reasons I still practice allergy for your consideration:Continue reading Four reasons I still practice Allergy in the Information Age→
Thanks for all your help with my #allergies, but I have a bone to pick with you. A few minutes into my visit and you’re talking about “rhinitis” and “IgE” and “desensitization”. By the time my brain catches up with you, our visit is over and I don’t feel like I really understand what condition I have. Could you slow down and explain what you mean by all that medical riff-raff?
I see enough patients with #hives that I sometimes get frustrated with our current treatment options and it doesn’t help when patients have the wrong idea or views about how hives behave. Vicki Lawrence to the rescue! I applaud her commitment to the truth about “idiopathic hives” and encourage you to listen to her video below (then learn how to avoid frustration with your own hives).
I was in my doctor’s office today (yes, I go to the doctor as well) and she asked me if I was taking my #medications. Of course, I said “yes, the ones that are in my chart”, not really having that photogenic list in my head. As we talked, I realized my confession of what my doctor wanted to hear got the priority over what I was really doing. Busted for lying, but not intentional.
I wish it wasn’t so difficult to take care of our bodies. I always overestimate how much I #exercise and how little I eat. Scales don’t lie, so I just don’t weigh myself. Isn’t it a good thing I only see my dentist every 6 months? I only have to lie about flossing twice a year!
#Asthma, however, is no laughing matter. Your asthma control and cost of keeping you out of the hospital depends on how often you take the medications prescribed to CONTROL your asthma not just treat it. The solution is simple, yet very difficult to actually perform correctly. Here’s the issue with asthma–which inhaler do I use when it’s prescribed by my asthma doctor? I’ll bet you confuse the use of controller medications with reliever medications and now that more new inhalers are on the market it’s even more difficult to do the right thing.
#Oklahoma boasts a low cost of living, and #physicians responding to the Medscape survey also reported high incomes: an average of $304,000. At 8.5%, the average state and local tax burden is well below the national average of 9.8%.
I know you’ve been there before….waiting in the doctor’s office for your appointment and some smartly dressed man or woman barely has to say hello to the receptionist and walks right by your seat, straight to the doctor’s office. “Hey, that’s not fair,” you say to yourself as you dig your nose into that outdated magazine trying to mask the irritation. “My time is just as valuable as theirs is, put me to the front of the line!” As a patient, my frustration with the #health care system only percolates at the injustice. Isn’t the cost of #medication so high in America because of all the drug companies? If there were no drug reps, wouldn’t my doctor have a better and certainly more unbiased selection of medications? Granted, the goal of any #pharmaceutical company (employer of drug reps) is to make profit, but they can’t do that unless a product (medication) works well and is taken as directed. In the end, drug companies want you to be adherent to medications prescribed so they’ll work, you get better, all of which is good for the bottom line. Almost sounds too good to be true when everybody wins, but hang on and I’ll show you how this is possible. Continue reading Drug Reps Will Give You Asthma→
I don’t normally stray from the trail of #allergy topics, but this issue is so important for doctors and ultimately patients that it’s worth investigating. If the doctor shortage becomes severe based on a dwindling supply of physicians, and increased utilization with the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), where will you get care when you need it? As #Tulsa County Medical Society (TCMS) president, I am privileged to write about our initiatives in the community and this one is of great importance not only now but for future generations. Here’s the President’s letter from the most recent newsletter:
I had just finished my training in allergy and was ready to conquer the world. Setting up a practice was no big deal; I just didn’t know what I didn’t know! Small town hospital to the rescue. If my practice didn’t succeed or if my revenue didn’t cover my expenses, I would have the local hospital guarantee my salary for the first 3 years of practice. How comforting and reassuring is that? What I didn’t know is if I was more successful than I anticipated (which most of us are), I had to share the profits with a hospital that literally did nothing to earn the cut. Rookie mistake, but very costly and could have been avoided with a few well-placed stories from my mentor….oh yeah, I didn’t have one either.
So here at TCMS, we tell you we’re more than just a political organization looking out for the practice of medicine. We are involved in watching out for your backside, to be sure, but the summer months allow an opportunity to reach out to our #medical students and residents to let them know about life after residency. You mean there is life after residency? In the grand scheme of life, most of the time you spend practicing medicine will be outside of your time as a resident or medical student.
Think about your importance as a physician mentor knowing that #doctors of the next generation will be ill prepared for what lies ahead in their practice careers. Now before you jump up and down in protest at having to attend one of the resident/medical student events, consider the following: Continue reading The Future of Medicine→
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what is modern hospital medicine really like? Follow Dr. Benjamin Kirkland - a Doctor working in Australia - through the pinnacles and pitfalls of everyday hospital medicine!