Author Archives: Michael Gelman

Dental Dilemma- Proposed Solutions

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In New Mexico, we do not have a dental school. The University of New Mexico has a dental hygiene program which awards both bachelors and masters degrees in dental hygiene. There are 59 dental schools in the United States. Some states like California have 6; NY has 4. The remaining 57 states have between 1-3 schools. Twelve other states (NM included)  lack dental schools. Therefore, if you live in a state like Delaware or Alaska-you will need to go elsewhere to pursue a dental education to acquire your Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.

I find these numbers somewhat disconcerting due to the fact that there are so many rural towns and communities in America where folks do not have access to dental care.  States such as  New Mexico have proposed the idea of utilizing dental therapists to go into such areas to provide dental care.  In the last legislative session here in NM, the State Senate tabled the bill even after the House passed the vote for dental therapists. At the present time, only 2 states, Alaska and Minnesota, allow dental therapists to render a wide variety of dental services. These services not only include the taking of X-rays but such functions as:

  • applying fluoride varnishes and sealants
  • administering local anesthetics and nitrous oxide
  • restoring primary and permanent teeth
  • re-cementing of permanent crowns

It must be pointed out that these therapists are not dental hygienists who have a totally different function.

So what is the point of all of this? How do folks get the dental care and services they need if doctoral-level dental education is not available in a particular state? Or a given state will not permit dental therapists to practice. For those states that do not have a dental school, state dental associations should work with legislators and university administrations to explore the funding for such an institution. Opportunities to provide financial incentives for graduates that if they elect to practice in a rural or underserved area for x number of years, their loans will be either be partially or paid off in full. The other options are for legislative bodies to consider the passage of dental therapists in additional states where dental care provision is markedly substandard.

Outside of the United States, both Australia and New Zealand-both Oral Health Therapists (combination dental hygienist and dental therapist) and Dental Therapists, respectively, have been trained and serve the populations of those two areas.

Medical Terminology

Prosthodontics-the art and science of providing replacements for lost or missing teeth such as implants or dentures.

Caries-another word for cavities or tooth decay.

 

Modernism-Mid-Century Modern Homes-a trip to Palm Springs

palm springs house

Last month, my wife and I decided to take a trip to Palm Springs. We had not been to this incredible town since 2000 or 2001. Being the historic preservationist that I am, I wanted to get tickets for some of the Modernist events sponsored by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation. I purchased a ticket for both of us to attend 2 home tours and a documentary film on the life of E. Stewart Williams-the architect (in my professional opinion) who transformed the landscape of Palm Springs. But what I really want to present here-is what makes Modernist Architecture so cool in Palm Springs. After all, Frank Sinatra (“Chairman of the Board, ‘Ole Blue Eyes’) had a home here designed by Mr. Williams. The architect did it the way he wanted to…not Mr. Sinatra’s way. Modernist architecture in PS was not just about residential abodes but banks, museums and gas stations-to provide some other examples. So, here are the characteristics that make Modernism “a blast from the past”:

  1. Use of horizontal and vertical lines
  2.  Simplicity-no extraneous detail
  3. Use of local and natural materials
  4. Use of a variety of geometries such as eclipses, circles, etc.
  5. First determine the purpose of the structure and then let the design emanate from that purpose, based on the dictum, “FORM FOLLOW FUNCTION

What we love about these Modernist or Mid-Century houses from the late 1950’s-early 1960’s is that elegance does not mean extravagance. The exterior and interior walls are devoid of ornament. The outside patios are an extension of the home, complete with swimming pools and lounge areas. Not just simplicity…but tranquility. The furniture is functional yet comfortable and relaxing. The lines are simple. Again, like the exterior and interior walls-they are also devoid of ornament. Many of the colors are really wild such as orange and lime green. The geometries of these homes include rectangles, squares while many of the commercial structures such as gas stations employ eclipses and ovals.

There are realtors such as Paul Kaplan who specialize in the sale of these Palm Springs homes.

If you are interested in learning more about the Modernist movement-not just in Palm Springs but nationwide, pick up a copy of “Atomic Ranch”, which can be purchased at many bookstores but especially at Barnes and Nobles.

 

Taking Care of Your Gastrointestinal Health-part 2

When you turn 50-it is really time to think about a procedure that nobody wants to have and nobody wants to prepare for. Nobody wants to not eat regular food for 1-2 days before this procedure because it simply isn’t fun. That procedure is called a colonoscopy. It is the best test for screening cancers of the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy will also screen for polyps or adenomas which are basically benign.  There are other ways of detecting colorectal cancer such as FOBT (fecal occult blood test) and flexible sigmoidoscopy but they are not as effective.

Colonoscopy is considered to be the “gold seal”, as far as diagnostic testing is concerned. If you have a family history of colon cancer, it is especially important to get a colonoscopy The procedure is relatively safe , although there is always the risk of perforating the intestine. The reason that most people do not want to get “scoped” is due to the preparation. Drinking something called GoLightly which generic name is polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution is not the most pleasant “beverage” to chug down-either the day before or the day of the procedure. On the day of the procedure, you may regurgitate the solution or you may not but it is definitely to your advantage to drink as much as you can muster. If you do not want to drink the GoLightly- discuss this with your gastroenterologist, He or she may allow an alternative cleansing solution. Still, you need to follow the precautions of drinking clear liquids, vegetable broth, eating NO SOLID FOOD; popsicles and liquids must not be RED. No strawberry, raspberry, any-other-kind of berry flavored products can be drank or eaten.

The colonoscopy, itself, usually takes about 35-45 minutes. You are given intravenous sedation. You may feel some gas being introduced into the colon , as the scope is introduced.While you may be able to watch the procedure on a video screen, you will essentially be very drowsy and restful. No pain will be experienced. If there are any polyps, your gastroenterologist will remove them with a looped instrument called a snare. One of your nurses or your doctor will let you know the results of the procedure when it is completed. If you are found to have polyps, you will need to undergo another colonoscopy in 3 or 5 yrs. Do not ignore this recommendation. Polyps can turn into malignant tumors if they are not removed or go unchecked. After the procedure, you will be advised to have someone drive you home from the hospital or clinic and bed rest is recommended for the remainder of the day. You should also eat something light for your first meal following the procedure. A diagram of the colonoscopy is seen below:

Taking care of your Gastrointestinal Health-part 1

 l believe in taking care of your gastrointestinal health? Why? The obvious reason is that it is essential to one’s health to do that. Let’s talk about heartburn, for example, as an annoying symptom that millions of people experience on a daily basis. Everyday on TV, we view commercials for Tums, Zantac, Prilosec and a variety of over-the-counter medications that are designed to relieve heartburn and acid indigestion. People, in general, but I believe especially in our American society, eat far too much fast food (Mc Donalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC). But they eat in a rush, in a hurry and do not take the time to thoroughly digest their food. Over time, acid will erode the sensitive lining of your esophagus and that is not a good thing. If you get or experience occasional heartburn once in a while, that is nothing to worry about. But what if you experience heartburn twice or several times a week. That is not a good thing. You could be experiencing reflux esophagitis or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Untreated GERD puts folks at risk for esophageal cancer or even a precancerous esophageal condition called Barretts Syndrome. If you experience heartburn more frequently during the course of a week, make an appointment to see your doctor. He or she will probably refer you to a gastroenterologist which is a physician who specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases (esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, intestines, pancreas. etc). He may want to perform an EGD procedure which stands for esophagogastroduodenoscopy-an examination of the esophagus, stomach and the duodenum ( the first part of the small intestine. A diagram of the procedure  is seen below: shutterstock_214651867 The EGD will reveal a lot of information. It will tell you if you have an ulcer in your stomach which is caused by a bacteria, Escherichia coli. It will tell you if you have erosions in your esophagus. But GERD-no. The gastroenterologist may have to perform an esophageal manometry test which is very uncomfortable. A spaghetti-thin tube is placed through your nose and you are hooked up to a machine. While all this is going on, you will be asked to take small sips of water.  When it is over, you will be asked to wear a 24 hr. monitoring device while there is a tube in your nose. When 24 hrs. is over, you will go back to the facility where this monitoring device was attached and it will be removed. It will usually take about 7-10 days for the doctor to inform you if you have GERD or not.

New medical terminology terms

Biliary-pertaining to the bile ducts.

ERCP-stands for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography-an endoscopic examination of the hepatic (liver), pancreas and common bile ducts

Adaptive Reuse-New Uses for Old Buildings

old gas stations

When we re-use something.., we simply use it again. When we adaptively reuse- we take a building and find an alternative use for it…other what it was originally used for. It is not just any building but a historic building. A building that reminds us of times past  and that we might be able, with some concentration, see what this business offered. In my hometown of Albuquerque, NM, there is are several restaurants that my wife and I like to eat in. One of those restaurants is part of a chain called Flying Star and they have a location in downtown Albuquerque. This particular store was a former electric power company at one time. Another restaurant called the Standard Diner, not far away, was an automobile dealership and Kelly’s-a popular hangout in the Nob Hill historic district was a filling station. At one time when I was getting my graduate degree in historic preservation, I explored and evaluated an old CBS television station in Savannah, GA. I wrote up an adaptive reuse plan for this station as an educational facility for the Savannah College of Art and Design. I also saw an old fire station that someone had purchased and adaptively reused it as their personal residence. Why would any real estate developer or merchant want to adaptively reuse an old building. The reasons are varied. They include the apparent idea of preserving the memories  of a business that was an integral part of a community at one time. Historic preservation creates jobs. The restaurants that my wife and I frequent hire people to cook, serve meals and bus the tables. Many times it cost less money to rehab an existing structure than it does to build a new one. Take a look in your own community. Do you have any gas stations that have been converted into something entirely different? Is there an old lighthouse in your area that now serves as a small bed and breakfast inn? Do you know that there are historic mills in the South that have now been converted into apartments? If you know about any of those structural examples-let me know! Thanks!

Why People Should Learn Medical Terminology

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There are a lot of reasons why people should learn medical terminology. If you go to the doctor for your regular checkup, see a variety of healthcare providers or just one, you are a consumer. Consumers need to be educated. You never purchase a car, for example, without reading automotive reviews or looking at car websites or talking to people and asking for their opinion. Why should your healthcare be any different? However, you want to be more than a consumer, you want to be on the same healthcare team as your providers. You want to be a team player. If you need to have a cholecystectomy, you need to know that is getting your gallbladder removed. If you are the caregiver of an aging parent who is diagnosed with COPD, what does that mean? It means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Not even the commercials advertising drugs for better breathing on TV will tell you what that means. If you decide to volunteer for an organization that serves AIDS patients and folks infected with HIV-what do those terms stand for? Acquired immune deficiency syndrome and human immunodeficiency virus.

Medical terminology is not difficult to learn and it does require some study. Books such as Medical Terminology for Dummies and Demystifying Medical Terminology can be found at your local library or bookstore or even ordered through Amazon.  Interested in taking a class? Many colleges at the 2 and 4 yr. level do offer a basic medical terminology class. You will learn about the necessary prefixes and suffixes,  as well as, root words to figure out what terms mean coupled with some basic anatomy and physiology.  Health literacy is a critical issue these days (and beyond the scope of this blog),  However, I feel that being a health literate individual requires that we understand basic medical terminology so that when we are communicating with our healthcare providers, we understand what they are talking about and not just nodding our heads. By the way, if you seem puzzled or confused about what your provider is saying -ask questions. It is your health and right as a patient and healthcare consumer…as well as your loved ones.

Medical Terminology from the specialties of Gastroenterology and Allied Specialties

GERD-gastroesophageal reflux disease or better known as “acid reflux”

Hepatology-the study of liver diseases

Problematic Issues about Commercial Real Estate and Property Management

vacant landOne of the things that I am really concerned about here in our state of New Mexico is the huge percentage of vacant land that is for sale There are lots ready to be developed in my city of  Albuquerque that have been vacant for years and years. They are crying for businesses to come in and start building. I learned from one developer that it used to almost take no time at all (figuratively speaking) to get a lease signed. Now it can take forever because there is a lot of information that parties need to get those signatures on paper. I also get real concerned about empty stores and businesses that have gone out. These stores can stay vacant a long, long time. It amazes me how some people can make a living in commercial real estate and I am not talking about folks like Donald Trump.  Just regular Joes and Janes.

 I will put the question out.Do you have these same problems in your state? If so, what are you doing about it? Or better yet-what can you do about it? Well, here are my thoughts on the subject. We live in a beautiful state. Our vistas are absolutely amazing. Our weather is fantastic. Our residential real estate, compared to a lot of other cities, is relatively affordable. We do the have the multi-million dollar homes but also the 130,000K home as well. We are becoming one of the great filmmaking-cinema cities of America with Albuquerque Studios right in our backyard. We need to attract businesses of all kinds to come in. I am not just talking about chain restaurants and call centers. I am talking about manufacturing. The kind of American manufacturing that is mentioned on “Made in America”-the series segments that have appeared on ABC World News Tonight; companies like Filson based in Washington State that makes high end work clothes and leather goods. We need to examine the Thomas Register and look for companies that do not have a presence in New Mexico and do everything we can to interest them in locating to our state. Or your state if that is the case. Maybe they will come-maybe they wont. However, the attempt is needed. Sorely needed if a state’s economy is to grow. Hopefully, when companies come to a given state-whether it is our state or anybody else’s-jobs will be created and people will be hired. Along with real estate development, I just wanted to comment on one of my peeves about property management.  Let’s say you are desiring to purchase an item or a service-you first check the location where that service or item is going to be available. You jot down the address and drive over to the location. You discover  that the business, according to the sign directory, is still there. The business, however, is gone. Frustrating, isn’t it. Property managers of mini-malls, strip malls, even regular commercial buildings-TAKE DOWN YOUR SIGNS if the business is gone. Better yet-leave a note on the vacant store or business informing that customer who may have driven 45 minutes for nothing that the business has moved. Good common sense to be demonstrated by the property manager is needed for the future.

I Care About Your Eye Care

 I think a lot of people take their eyes for granted. They  do not get regular eye exams. If they do get their eyes examined and find that they have a disease like GLAUCOMA, they get lazy about taking their medication. If they are elderly and are driving at night, they ignore symptoms like glare which may turn out to be a CATARACT, either in both eyes or just one. If they have dry eyes, they fail to use artificial tears on a daily basis. If they sit and work at a computer all day, they could be benefiting from using computer glasses and taking regular breaks. The eyes are a mirror to what going on in the body. For example, opthalmologists  and optometrists have diagnosed brain tumors and other diseases on examining the eyes.

glaucoma

I have glaucoma. In the early 90’s, I was diagnosed as being “glaucoma suspect” meaning it is not full blown glaucoma. I was showing some changes in the optic nerve. Then in 1998, , based on tests and my eye pressure readings, I was diagnosed with POAG-primary open angle glaucoma. Since that time, I see my ophthalmologist every 4 months for a regular eye pressure check. Once a year, I have a full diagnostic workup to insure that the disease has not progressed. I take one drop in each eye before going to bed at night.

cataract image

 

I also have had my cataracts removed in both eyes. When cataracts are removed which means removing the lens of the eye, it is replaced by an intraocular prosthetic lens. You can opt for a near or distance correction but not both. I chose distance. I no longer wear glasses except for reading and computer work. After I had my cataract surgery, I had to apply a variety of drops to my eyes for my 4-5 weeks, with fewer different drops over time. My ophthalmologist was recommending that I have the cataracts removed for some time and I am glad that I had the surgery. I also went for several post-operative checks after these operations.

The gift of sight is one of our most precious senses. As we age, the eye undergoes a variety of changes. It can be frustrating to not be able to see as well as we want but is more devastating to go blind and not see at all. Get your eyes examined on an annual basis.

Anytime, I post a blog on a medical or health-related subject, I will provide a medical terminology definition or two related to the subject. Here goes:

GLAUCOMA-a disease of the eye characterized by increased intraocular pressure with excavation and atrophy of the optic nerve; produces defects in the visual field and may result in blindness.

CATARACT-complete  or partial opacity of the ocular lens.

(both definitions taken from Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions, 4th ed. 2001)

Real Estate Salespeople-Do you know your architectural house and building styles?

Craftsman homesWhen I was thinking of moving to Albuquerque, I wanted to know if there were any Craftsman ( or American Arts and Crafts) bungalows. I called up this one real estate agent and asked her : Do you have any Craftsman bungalows in Albuquerque? She responded that we didn’t. Yet, when I did move to the ‘Burque, as Albuquerque is affectionately called., I saw plenty of these bungalows-both for residential and commercial use. So what is my point? Many real estate agents could use some education in knowing their architectural house and building styles. Why? In my opinion, it is not enough just to sell a home. Realtors need to effectively market their properties. It is not enough to give prospective buyers information on how many bedrooms or bathrooms or what the selling price is of a given property. Knowing about the specific style and the time period in which this style prevailed is very important.

What is interesting about my city here in New Mexico, is that I can find a variety of architectural styles. I know where to go to locate a Queen Anne Victorian, a Streamline Moderne or an ultra-futuristic home that looks like it popped out of a Flash Gordon serial. Realtors can do much to educate themselves on historical architectural styles. There are many excellent books and magazines that one can purchase to educate oneself on this subject. For a general introduction, I can recommend two notable books. One is A Field Guide to American Houses-The Definitive Guide to Identifying and  Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture (2013) by Virginia Savage Mc Alester and the other is American House Styles- A Concise Guide (2013) by John Milnes Baker. Magazines such as American Bungalow, as well as, Style 1900 provide a lot of useful information about the American Arts and Crafts movement. Atomic Ranch is a publication that is devoted to Mid-Century America architecture revealing examples of ranch style homes that were built in the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s. These publications not only provide architectural style examples but also information on interior furnishings and educational events where the public can go on house tours, as well as other events. Realtors who are also involved in the staging of homes will derive great benefit in perusing these publications for ideas and guidance.

Why I Do What I Do

Since I am in the information business, I dislike seeing signs on a directory of an office or shopping complex that indicate a company or store is present when in actuality, it has already moved. The management of that complex has never bothered to take down the sign so it leaves folks confused and do not know if the company has simply moved or gone out of business. To me, this is an example of presenting inaccurate and conflicting information. Not only does this leave folks confused, it leaves them irritated.

Whether they are looking for a store to purchase  a hard-to-find product or making a major planning decision for their organization, people need accurate, timely and value-added information. It is my commitment to analyze and evaluate that information to ensure that it truly meets their needs. That is why I do what I do.

Information is the most important commodity in the world. When I was a little boy, I used to love to read encyclopedias and history books. When I told my dad a certain fact that I had learned and saw that he was impressed, I was very happy. When I accurately coded medical records using a specialized classification system, my bosses were happy that an optimal level of financial reimbursement was provided for that patient’s episode of care in the hospital. Happiness is wonderful when people receive great information but they have to be able to apply it in their daily lives.

And so with my first blog post, I will present information in one or two fields that I love on a fairly regular basis: medical/health care and history/architecture.  Future blog posts could include information about a medical treatment for x disease, an architectural observation, a new drug or a city known for its historic districts. I love and am quite passionate about these two areas but seek to serve the clients of those communities. That is why I do what I do.