Being Empowered for Your Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Have you ever left one of your health appointments disappointed with your visit? Maybe you had just spoken to a health care professional, but instead of feeling like all of your concerns were addressed, you found yourself with even more questions? In this post, I will provide you practical tools that you can starting putting into use today that will empower you in your health care visits by helping you prepare for encounters you might have with the health care system–whether it is a routine doctor’s visit or an unexpected trip to the ER—and by helping you make the most out of your interactions with your health care professionals.

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6 Causes of Fatigue that You Should Know

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you always feel tired? Do you often have difficulty getting through the day because of lack of energy? Sometimes, being tired is expected and normal (for example, after an all-nighter, after a bout of the flu, or after a busy non-stop week). However, if you find yourself always feeling worn out despite adequate rest, to the point your tiredness negatively affects your quality of life, it’s time to do something about it.

In this post, I will discuss six common health conditions that can lead to chronic fatigue. While this is by no means an exhaustive guide, these are conditions that frequently affect people and (for the most part) are easily diagnosable and treatable. In a subsequent post, I will discuss practical ways in which you can effectively combat your fatigue…regardless of the cause. 

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5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency You Should Know

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Vitamin D deficiency. Do you know the symptoms? How do you know if you are at risk of having it? What should you do if you are, and how do you prevent it? These are the questions I will answer today…

Continue reading “5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency You Should Know”

Let Us Care For One Another…

Dear friends,

May I tell you about someone? It’s about one courageous woman who has a beautiful heart who just happens to have a brain tumor. She has undergone surgery and a long bout of chemoradiation, and although she has fought hard and continues to fight to maintain the kind of ‘normal life’ someone as lucky as me would take for granted, she was forced to reach out.

Continue reading “Let Us Care For One Another…”

Ask This Doc: Q & A

Have you been wondering about anything?

Perhaps you have read something health-related on the internet but are not sure of its accuracy and would like the opinion of an impartial doctor…

Perhaps you just have a general question about how to improve your health…

I have noticed that many people have unanswered questions when it comes to health-related issues. Therefore, if you think I can help, I encourage you to ask them (of course this is not to replace your personal doctor’s advice, but just to offer you another source of information).

You are welcome to leave your question in the comment section or submit it to me directly. 

With love,
Phoebe

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 *Remember, any information provided through this blog is solely for educational purposes and is not intended to be used in place of medical advice. Always consult your trusted health care provider before starting or changing any medications/supplements, diet, and exercise regimens.  

Pain Medications: Choosing the Right One for You

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Advil. Aleve. Tylenol. Aspirin. Four widely used over-the-counter medications. How do you know if you are taking the right one?

The purpose of this post is to familiarize you with the major pros and cons of these medications as well as to help you differentiate who should and should not take them. Even if you already have a “go-to” medication, make sure you know these essential facts, which is summarized in the table below.

Continue reading “Pain Medications: Choosing the Right One for You”

A Memory of Ground Beef.

Once when I was on a specialized heart failure service, I took care of a teenage boy. He had a form of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (a weak, enlarged heart), and he had a huge heart…in more ways than one.

He loved baseball, pumpkin pie, and horses. His family owned a farm, so before he got sick, he would often go horseback riding. He also loved to draw.

We—a team of five physicians—took care of him for a month while he was waiting for a heart transplant. He liked us. We liked him. So he drew us as well.

I thought he was clever. But he thought I was even more so. All because he liked my joke:

“What do you call a cow with no legs?”

“Ground beef.”

That was it. He was just a great kid, trying his best to live the life given to him.

It used to be, that at the end of our visits, we would both say to each other, “Ground beef!” with a wink and a huge smile. It perplexed the other physicians, but we knew exactly what we were talking about.

It was just a silly joke. But for the two of us, it somehow meant something more. 

I found out recently that he passed away. And today I found the drawing he gave me. And I wept.

So here’s to you, dear buddy…

Ground beef 😉

Isolation.

tb
• Monteagudo, Bolivia •

This is where tuberculosis patients, including little Luis’ father, were kept, quarantined away from other patients. It is quite different from the standard isolation facilities seen at most hospitals today, but this is all they had, and they made the most of it.

Outside is where little Luis played while visiting the hospital. 

And Puppydoc did end up getting latent TB after caring for the patients, but she took medicine and is now all better. 

☺️

The Hug.

Bitterness.
Each word, a slap.
Each consonant, piercing.
Bursting in like a winter’s storm,
you permeated into our lives.

We wanted to help you,
but we only came to fear you.
Many shook their heads in pity.
Some avoided you.
Others talked about you.

Contempt.
Each gesture, scornful.
Each insult, stinging.
My attempts to talk to you
only seemed to anger you more.

You terrified me. Yet I yearned.
To see. To know. To understand.

I knew you were frustrated.
Your disease, unforgiving.
Slowly devouring. 
I knew you were discouraged.
Your body, powerless.
Slowly succumbing.

But why wouldn’t you let us care for you?

Desperation.
Each day, the same.
Each encounter, fruitless.
You turned us away again and again. 
Until one day I confronted you. 
I asked you why.
And you told me.

I know you don’t really care. This is only your job. 

My job.

It all made sense.
The bitterness. The coldness. The distancing.
I understood.

Stepping forward,
leaving behind the pride, the decorum, 
my arms enclosed around you.
The fear escaping my racing heart
only after you made a move to wipe your eyes.

You then collapsed into me.
My shoulder, an insulation
to the sound of choked sobs.

You never said a word.
But in your cry I heard your anguish.
I heard desolation.
I heard relief.

Things were never the same after that.

Your bitterness was gone.
Your words, softer.
Your eyes, warmer.
You allowed us to care for you, 
remaining strong even
as your disease progressed.

Until one day, like winter’s snow, 
the seasons beckoned for you to leave.
But even then, as you faded away,
you reminded me of the day everything changed–

The day I gave you the hug. 

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