Category Archives: Health

Is My Kid Normal?

“Is my kid normal?” is the second most common question I am asked during a pediatric visit.  (Not surprisingly, the most common question is from a fearful child asking if they need a “shot”.)  By asking about normal what parents are really asking is “Should I be worried?” and “Why does my kid do THAT?”.

My answer usually starts with questions to the parent seeking details about what their child can and can’t do.  But to be honest, when a father brings the child I get a little doubtful because I often get the same response. “How many words can your child use in a sentence?”. Blank look.  “Can she follow two step commands?”. Blank look.  Then with a look of humility the dad reaches into his pocket saying, “Here, let me call her mother and you can talk to her”. Continue reading

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Will My Kid Survive Kindergarten?

Originally posted here.

This past month my daughter and four million other five year olds in the United States started kindergarten.  Standing next to them on that appointed day were eight million of us parents and caregivers, each a basket case of emotion.  How could someone who was entirely dependant on us for survival only a few years ago (and for some forgettable moments this past week) survive the perils of kindergarten?  When did she become so grown up? Will she be able to speak up for herself?  Will she be lonely?  Can she handle the rough and tumble playground politics or just sit still during class?   Continue reading

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My Child’s Perfect School Lunch

Originally posted: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/my-childs-perfect-school-lunch/

A few weeks ago my daughter took her first steps into formal education, kindergarten.  I have been a little surprised to find this has involved a transition not only for her, but for me, too.  Not only does her mother and I want her dressed comfortably and ready to learn, we have to plan or pack a meal that she will eat without us watching. Thus far we have been packing dinner leftovers from the night before, thinking that food from home would be comforting in an unfamiliar setting.  But amidst the chaos of sending her across town to school, already we are searching for ways to make our morning routine easier, including signing her up for the school lunch program.  But the nagging question is, “What if she doesn’t like what they serve?”  

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Filed under Appa (Fatherhood), Health, Parenting

Interview with a Kindergartener

Originally posted here.

This summer I took my 5-year-old on a last-hurrah-before-kindergarten-daddy-daughter trip. Our flight was delayed for two hours but frankly, we didn’t mind being trapped in the new traveler-friendly Terminal 2 of the San Francisco Airport — we even peeked in the yoga room. Knowing that kindergarten was a mere two months away has filled me with thought and emotion, including coming to terms with seeing my daughter as a more independent person. So I decided to use this unscheduled break to ask for her thoughts on the matter. Continue reading

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Health Reform Year Two: Tens of Millions Served

As we mark the second anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now is a good time to have what in medical parlance is called a “time out” and reflect on how far we have come and where we need to go.

Some states are challenging the legality of vital provisions such as Medicaid expansion and the mandate for all Americans to carry health insurance.  Candidates vying for President Obama’s job vow a complete repeal of the ACA.  Not surprisingly, polls show a confused public wondering what the health law means for them and the health plan they have now.  Despite this, the obfuscations cannot hide the reality that tens of millions of people have already been served by the initial phases of ACA.

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Health, Health Policy

Startups: The Other Health Technology Revolution

These days my physician colleagues and I are up to our necks in a health technology revolution.  To be honest, its not as captivating asPinterest or socially-engaging as a Google Huddle but to be sure your life will depend on it.  The revolution ushered in by electronic health record (EHR) is less about the technology than the widespread impact it will have on patient care.  Rather than digging through stacks of paper charts, your doctor will have ready access to all of your health history on a digital device.  And not just your health history, soon I will be able to combine it with the history of other patients in my practice: the digitized data will allow me to track the childhood obesity rate in my clinic and trend it over time with just a click (or tap).  But look out, there are glimmers of another emerging health tech revolution.

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Under Addressing the Factors That Cause 70% of Disease

While in residency, I took care of a toddler who was hospitalized following an anaphylactic reaction.  During a diaper change at home the child suddenly developed lip swelling and severe difficulty breathing for no apparent reason. The child was urgently brought to the hospital by ambulance and initially treated in the emergency room. By the time I met her on the inpatient floor her breathing and swelling had significantly improved. The first thing I noticed, however, was the child’s bumpy and irritated red skin which was covered with a thick layer of ointment. While I examined her she would claw and scratch at her skin with little relief. She looked miserable. Her mother had been suspecting food allergies and described a frustrating process of selective food avoidance and various skin treatments with little to no improvement.

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Filed under Health, Social Determinants of Health