@jayparkinson

93
I really, really hate going to the doctor. As a doctor, you know exactly what you should be afraid of having. You’ve seen it all happen to other people. Personally, when something new and weird happens to me my fears always irrationally gravitate toward the following three things:
Cancer of any kind (despite the fact that there are almost zero cases of cancer in my immediate or extended family
Brain tumor
Multiple Sclerosis
This is called nosophobia, “fear of disease.” And I’ve got it. Absolutely. So much so that about two years ago I developed this little blind spot in my left eye (that little red spot up in the photo of my second favorite dog in all the world, Doctor Teeth, is how it looks to me). I’m a regular migraineur and typically get all kinds of blind spots in my vision almost every day due to these migrainey things that happen to me. But my normal spots come, and go. This one stuck. Like a region of dead pixels on my computer screen. Two years ago, I was convinced I had some sort of eye/brain tumor. So I didn’t go see a doctor, I just waited it out knowing that time will tell if it’s going to be something bad. Nothing changed in two years, despite the two years of unnecessary anxiety of “knowing” that something bad was happening to me. 
So I finally went to the ophthalmologist yesterday and got a thorough exam, which was absolutely 100% perfectly normal. I saw the photo of my retina which didn’t show that retinal melanoma I was convinced I had. The doctor reassured me that this is extremely common and she “sees this at least once a week.” 
But then I asked her, “But what is it?” She said she doesn’t know nor does she feel the need to know. The course of my spot hadn’t changed in two years. It’s there and she can’t see it with a comprehensive exam. She said she could do a very specific test and look for microscopic variations on my retina, but what would that do? There’s really nothing to be done for the spot. It’s just there. It always will be. It’s never coming back. And it’s really not big enough a deal for me to want some doctor to do something about it. 
But, again, “What is it?” I wanted the doctor to give me a diagnosis. I left the office without a diagnosis. The diagnosis she gave was “You’re fine. You’re not going to die. You don’t have a brain or eye tumor. Although you’ve never seen this happen to you, I see this all the time and my experience is that it’s absolutely nothing to worry about.” That was comforting to me, but I still wanted a diagnosis— something that could 100% completely alleviate my anxiety.
So many people (including myself, friends, and patients I’ve seen) have had weird, scary things happen to them only to go to the doctor to be told “We have no idea what’s happening to you. We just have to wait this out and see what happens. You may be completely fine or you may have to face death.” The psychological comfort of having a diagnosis, something to hang your hat on, is far, far better than an unknown. A diagnosis gives us something concrete. It’s an answer. Answers give us comfort. As humans, we’re actually really great at dealing with stuff, even when it’s horrible stuff. And we’re even better at dealing with stuff if we can define what that stuff is. It’s very similar to a family who has a child go missing. The pain and anxiety that stems from the immediate days, to months, to years of the questions, the unknown fate, the fear of bad news and the hope of a safe return. It’s psychological torture.
So, doctors, never underestimate the psychological power of a diagnosis. Even when it’s bad, it provides a framework for us, as patients, to wrap our heads around, and build the skills we need to deal with whatever’s thrown at us.
 

I really, really hate going to the doctor. As a doctor, you know exactly what you should be afraid of having. You’ve seen it all happen to other people. Personally, when something new and weird happens to me my fears always irrationally gravitate toward the following three things:

  • Cancer of any kind (despite the fact that there are almost zero cases of cancer in my immediate or extended family
  • Brain tumor
  • Multiple Sclerosis

This is called nosophobia, “fear of disease.” And I’ve got it. Absolutely. So much so that about two years ago I developed this little blind spot in my left eye (that little red spot up in the photo of my second favorite dog in all the world, Doctor Teeth, is how it looks to me). I’m a regular migraineur and typically get all kinds of blind spots in my vision almost every day due to these migrainey things that happen to me. But my normal spots come, and go. This one stuck. Like a region of dead pixels on my computer screen. Two years ago, I was convinced I had some sort of eye/brain tumor. So I didn’t go see a doctor, I just waited it out knowing that time will tell if it’s going to be something bad. Nothing changed in two years, despite the two years of unnecessary anxiety of “knowing” that something bad was happening to me. 

So I finally went to the ophthalmologist yesterday and got a thorough exam, which was absolutely 100% perfectly normal. I saw the photo of my retina which didn’t show that retinal melanoma I was convinced I had. The doctor reassured me that this is extremely common and she “sees this at least once a week.” 

But then I asked her, “But what is it?” She said she doesn’t know nor does she feel the need to know. The course of my spot hadn’t changed in two years. It’s there and she can’t see it with a comprehensive exam. She said she could do a very specific test and look for microscopic variations on my retina, but what would that do? There’s really nothing to be done for the spot. It’s just there. It always will be. It’s never coming back. And it’s really not big enough a deal for me to want some doctor to do something about it. 

But, again, “What is it?” I wanted the doctor to give me a diagnosis. I left the office without a diagnosis. The diagnosis she gave was “You’re fine. You’re not going to die. You don’t have a brain or eye tumor. Although you’ve never seen this happen to you, I see this all the time and my experience is that it’s absolutely nothing to worry about.” That was comforting to me, but I still wanted a diagnosis— something that could 100% completely alleviate my anxiety.

So many people (including myself, friends, and patients I’ve seen) have had weird, scary things happen to them only to go to the doctor to be told “We have no idea what’s happening to you. We just have to wait this out and see what happens. You may be completely fine or you may have to face death.” The psychological comfort of having a diagnosis, something to hang your hat on, is far, far better than an unknown. A diagnosis gives us something concrete. It’s an answer. Answers give us comfort. As humans, we’re actually really great at dealing with stuff, even when it’s horrible stuff. And we’re even better at dealing with stuff if we can define what that stuff is. It’s very similar to a family who has a child go missing. The pain and anxiety that stems from the immediate days, to months, to years of the questions, the unknown fate, the fear of bad news and the hope of a safe return. It’s psychological torture.

So, doctors, never underestimate the psychological power of a diagnosis. Even when it’s bad, it provides a framework for us, as patients, to wrap our heads around, and build the skills we need to deal with whatever’s thrown at us.

 

When tragedies like these deaths happen to celebrities, they should be a wake-up call for the rest of us. If someone who has everything going for them can be so horribly enslaved to what they know could kill them, imagine what it’s like for the average addict. Addiction is bigger than class, race, religion, or any other factor that one might hope would reduce its captive hold. Succumbing to it isn’t selfish. It’s horribly sad and extremely difficult to prevent, even though it is, in theory, preventable. The way we talk about a celebrity who ODs says a lot about the way we think about people who are struggling around us. It’s time we tried to understand struggles we don’t endure ourselves. It’s called empathy, and we could all use a lot more of it.
20
The new Sherpaa video we shot the past three days is gonna be awesome.

The new Sherpaa video we shot the past three days is gonna be awesome.

199
Fifth Marlboro Man Dies From Smoking-Caused Illness
You should probably quit.
via

Fifth Marlboro Man Dies From Smoking-Caused Illness

You should probably quit.

via

67
Everyone, not just doctors, having access to medical information is one of the most profound cultural changes in our nation’s health. It’s one that I welcome. There’s a ton of health content out there on the internet. Some is good, some is ok, and some is just plain wrong. And it’s nearly impossible for google to gauge quality. But with this profound change, comes another need:
I believe it’s our role as doctors to curate and guide our patients to the best information available to us all. I call it information therapy. 
We should be sending you to the best information, the best opinion, and the best tools you can use to understand and manage your health. It is a new and necessary role we have as doctors practicing in the age of the internet. So we just launched this feature in Sherpaa’s app. Here’s a screenshot of it. It’s simple, but profound. Here’s what your doctor thinks is the best of the internet, exclusively for you. We even recommend the best iPhone apps to help you manage your migraines. Your doctor, prescribing apps. Welcome to the future.

Everyone, not just doctors, having access to medical information is one of the most profound cultural changes in our nation’s health. It’s one that I welcome. There’s a ton of health content out there on the internet. Some is good, some is ok, and some is just plain wrong. And it’s nearly impossible for google to gauge quality. But with this profound change, comes another need:

I believe it’s our role as doctors to curate and guide our patients to the best information available to us all. I call it information therapy.

We should be sending you to the best information, the best opinion, and the best tools you can use to understand and manage your health. It is a new and necessary role we have as doctors practicing in the age of the internet. So we just launched this feature in Sherpaa’s app. Here’s a screenshot of it. It’s simple, but profound. Here’s what your doctor thinks is the best of the internet, exclusively for you. We even recommend the best iPhone apps to help you manage your migraines. Your doctor, prescribing apps. Welcome to the future.

50
A friend of mine grew up in Hawaii. When Obama was under fire for his citizenship and he released his birth certificate, my friend Marc was surprised to see that the listed address was his childhood house. It turns out that my friend’s father rented out the back cottage to Obama’s mother. Amazing.

A friend of mine grew up in Hawaii. When Obama was under fire for his citizenship and he released his birth certificate, my friend Marc was surprised to see that the listed address was his childhood house. It turns out that my friend’s father rented out the back cottage to Obama’s mother. Amazing.

41
One of my favorite things about Sherpaa is the Soho office. All 12 of us are like one big happy family. Mostly because every Friday, Dr. Ida Santana bakes something amazing for the team. It was whoopie pies today and a chocolate coffee bundt cake last Friday. Last Friday’s cake was for our highly anticipated “Mark as Unread Party!” celebrating David, our backend developer’s exceptional skills quickly delivering such a highly anticipated feature on the doctor side of our app. Secondarily, it was also our front end developer Joey’s birthday. He turned thirty-onederful.

One of my favorite things about Sherpaa is the Soho office. All 12 of us are like one big happy family. Mostly because every Friday, Dr. Ida Santana bakes something amazing for the team. It was whoopie pies today and a chocolate coffee bundt cake last Friday. Last Friday’s cake was for our highly anticipated “Mark as Unread Party!” celebrating David, our backend developer’s exceptional skills quickly delivering such a highly anticipated feature on the doctor side of our app. Secondarily, it was also our front end developer Joey’s birthday. He turned thirty-onederful.

325
Across the world, half as many children died in 2012 as in 1990. That’s the biggest decline ever recorded. And hardly anyone knows about it!

Bill Gates

That’s amazing. The Gates Foundation is doing exceptional, truly world-changing work. It’s “the last mile” for clean water and vaccines. 

9

I just got word that my dear friend, Bill Drenttel passed away today. I met Bill at a conference where we were both speaking and had an immediate connection as we chatted in the green room for a few hours. Bill invited me into his life and into the design world. He was the brains behind so many beautiful things and experiences we all see everyday. We spent a week together in Cape Town, a few weeks together in Aspen where he introduced me to way too much Bulleit, many weekends at his home, Winterhouse, up in the Berkshires, and countless lunches in the city. I took this video last time I was up at his home. 

Bill was exceptional both personally and professionally and anyone who knew him was touched by his generosity and unique personality. He surrounded himself with lovely things and lovely people, as anyone who knows his wife and children can attest to. He was a mentor and a friend and he will be missed. Thank you Bill. 

177
A recent study in the British Medical Journal asked the following questions:
What would happen if everyone over 50 were offered a statin like Lipitor, and 70% complied?
What would happen if everyone over 50 were told to eat an apple a day (or one extra portion of some fruit) and 70% complied (and assuming no overall increase in calorie consumption)?
Results:
Statins would save 9,400 lives.
Eating an apple would save 8,500 lives.
The increased statin use would also cause over a thousand cases of muscle disease and 10,000 new diagnoses of diabetes.

A recent study in the British Medical Journal asked the following questions:

  • What would happen if everyone over 50 were offered a statin like Lipitor, and 70% complied?
  • What would happen if everyone over 50 were told to eat an apple a day (or one extra portion of some fruit) and 70% complied (and assuming no overall increase in calorie consumption)?

Results:

Statins would save 9,400 lives.

Eating an apple would save 8,500 lives.

The increased statin use would also cause over a thousand cases of muscle disease and 10,000 new diagnoses of diabetes.

197
94%

The proportion of doctors and lawyers who were white men in 1960.  Racism and sexism kept those professions homogenous, but it turns out less racism and sexism translates into better use of talent, more productivity, and actually creates economic growth. (via theweekmagazine)

And, today, women comprise roughly 48% of medical students. We can give the boomers a hard time for making our economy unsustainable for our future, but we have to say they fought hard for gender equality, and got it, especially in medicine.