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Tag: medical

My Fantastic Voyage

For most of my life, I’ve had digestive problems of varying severity. Back in February, this manifested as an extended, painful bout that lasted weeks at a time, recurred every few weeks, and began to lead to malnourishment (and, counterintuitively, skyrocketing iron levels). After running a battery of tests, blood and otherwise, it was decided that I needed a colonoscopy, which occurred in May. The blood tests ruled out conditions like celiac, which was a relief. But we couldn’t rule out cancer since colon cancer has occurred in my family tree — that was a scary wait. I won’t varnish…

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The Iron Maiden

Yesterday, I went in for a monthly phlebotomy (ie bloodletting) as ordered by my doctor. You see, I have a genetic condition called Hereditary Hemachromatosis, which was diagnosed in 2008. (It surfaced about 30 years earlier than normal for women). My “treatment” is to go to the blood center and donate blood, sometimes more frequently than is typically allowed without a prescription. Hemachromatosis is essentially the opposite of anemia. Your body absorbs iron too well – which may sound awesome to anemics, but iron can only leave your body in blood, and as it builds up in organs it can…

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Anatomy of a Good Day

It was a 13-hour return to the world for me today after a little over a week recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Recovery was slow going; the drugs were rough, and the intubation sore throat bad enough that I’m still not on a full solid diet yet. But at the end of my long day, my knee sore and cranky at the exertion, driving across the 520 bridge, I felt almost on top of the world. (No, I wasn’t still on the painkillers.) The day that started early with my postoperative appointment at my surgeon’s office. It’s the end of…

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The Memorable Patient

A few days ago, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to remove the two screws that have been holding my shattered kneecap together since May 10th of last year. Hopefully, by doing this, I can jumpstart a final phase of recovery and move me out of the temporarily handicapped masses. Over the past year or so, the prospect of getting the screws out was a light at the end of the tunnel. I talked to many folks who have had hardware in for one reason or another, and all seemed to agree that if the option to remove the hardware is…

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On Service Design: Pain Medication

Service design is another branch of interaction design, like user experience, that focuses on a holistic view of systems that may or may not involve technology. In simple terms, service design seeks to improve how humans interact with a service or provider.

While many of us have encountered narcotic painkillers like Vicodin or Percocet (hello, spambots) for use after minor injuries or procedures like wisdom tooth removal, it’s a whole new ballgame if you’ve had the misfortune of needing a serious procedure due to illness or injury. Based on my personal experience and the experience of close friends, it feels like there’s a major hole in the service offerings of most medical providers when it comes to ending the use of this sort of medication.

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