Years ago my mother developed a sudden high fever, nausea and vomiting, headache,western equine encephalitis confusion and extreme weakness. She was hospitalized and they could not figure out what was wrong with her. At first her doctor thought that she had a really bad case of bronchitis. After treating her symptoms for days, she finally started to make some progress, but she almost died, with a fever going as high as 106! They literally packed her in ice, ran IVs and tried antibiotics, which did not help since it was a virus and not a bacterial infection. Her fever finally broke and numerous blood Continue reading


altitude sicknessI remember my Dad taking my oldest son to Colorado when he was just 5. It was one of his favorite spots as a child to spend time so they took off and immediately went up to Pike’s Peak. Well – not so fast Dad – my son got a really bad headache, a bloody nose and started to throw up. It is really very common for a lot of people. Luckily Dad knew what was going on and they readily started to come down and get to a more comfortable altitude. Hypobaropathy (the altitude bends), also known as soroche, is quite simply altitude sickness. It is also known as AMS (acute mountain sickness) and is caused by exposure to partial pressure of oxygen Continue reading


Peripheral vascular disease is a condition in which the blood vessels in the lowerPERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE extremities (feet, legs, or thighs) are narrowed, restricting blood flow. Peripheral vascular disease is primarily caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in blood vessels. Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or advanced age, or those who smoke or are inactive, are at risk for developing peripheral vascular disease. Approximately eight to 12 million people in the United States have peripheral vascular disease. Individuals with mild Continue reading


calcific tendonitisWhat a week this has been! Last Sunday I went swimming (my usual routine) and when I woke up Monday my right shoulder and arm were killing me. I thought maybe it was a metastatic tumor or maybe I had torn a rotator cuff. You know us nurses, always thinking the worst possible scenario. Anyway I decided I probably slept on it wrong and waited for another couple of days before I decided something was really wrong. I literally could not lift up my arm. I went to Continue reading


A perforated ulcer is a condition where an untreated ulcer can burn through the wall of perforated ulcerthe stomach (or other areas of the gastrointestinal tract), allowing digestive juices, food and/or blood to leak into the abdominal cavity. The severe inflammation and infection inside of the abdomen is called peritonitis and this is a very serious condition. The ulcer is known initially as a peptic ulcer before the ulcer burns through the full thickness of the stomach or duodenal wall. This is, in fact, one of the very few occasions in modern times Continue reading



Osteomyelitis is a medical word used for a bone infection. Infections may reach the bone by migrating through the blood system or distributed from tissues which are nearby. Osteomyelitis may also start in the bone if there has been an injury that leaves the bone open to germs. With children, osteomyelitis normally disturbs the longer bones of the upper arm or legs, although adults are likely to have osteomyelitis in Continue reading


A tremor is an unintentional and uncontrollable rhythmic movement of one part of your tremorsbody. A tremor can occur in any part of the body at any time. It is usually the result of a problem in the part of the brain that controls your muscles. Although tremors are not always serious, in some cases they may indicate a serious disorder. Most tremors cannot be treated, but will often go away on their own. It’s important to note that muscle spasms, muscle twitches, and tremors are not the Continue reading


oat cell cancerI just had a high school friend diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the lung. This particular kind of cancer is also known as oat-cell carcinoma. He had no signs or warnings other than he developed a large nodule in the neck and went to an ENT specialist. The ENT physician aspirated some fluid and found it to be non-differentiated carcinoma. The next step brought him to an oncologist for a PET scan which luckily revealed it was not found elsewhere in the body. Apparently there was just a small spot in the lung that traveled to the lymph system. Cancer of the lung is really quite common and it is the number one cause of Continue reading


There seems to be a lot of confusion with CT (computed tomography) versus MRI (magnetic resonance mri machineimaging) testing. What is the difference, what are they used for and which one is better? The machines look quite a bit alike, but what happens inside of them is very different. MRI and CT testing are used for different needs and reasons; both are valuable and both have specific applications; they are not interchangeable and one is not a better test than the other for all things. The decision whether to use Continue reading


rotator cuff tearIt seems as though the older we get, everything starts to fall apart! I know I did not really have many issues until the double nickel era (55) and things just started to happen. One very common problem that occurs with aging is called a rotator cuff injury. It can be an acute or chronic problem that may involve an actual tear in the rotator cuff. Extensive tears may require surgical intervention, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement. To start with some anatomy, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache Continue reading